FURIOUS staff say daily power cuts in Castleford’s busiest shopping precinct have caused a “complete nightmare” for businesses.
Six premises on Bradley Street and Carlton Street suffered hours of inconvenience and lost trade after power cuts plagued the area every day between Friday August 3 and Monday August 6.
Staff at James Michael Dentistry and Spa, Halifax and Santander banks, Coral Bookmakers, Superdrug and Scope charity shop say they arrived at work as early as 7.30am to find the power was off and had to wait up to four hours each day for it to be fixed, leaving staff queuing outside their workplaces and customers unable to use the bank’s cash points, attend appointments or pick up pharmacy prescriptions.
James Taylor, joint lead dentist and company director of the Bradley Street business, said: “We’re just coming to our wits’ end. We’ve been out of business – we’ve been turning patients away, we’ve had 30 staff standing around twiddling their thumbs.
“We’ve had to tell patients we’re cancelling and we’re not giving them the care they need and it’s an inconvenience for them. It has cost us a fortune, it’s a complete nightmare.”
Mr Taylor – whose business has suffered eight power cuts in as many months – said when he reported the most recent incidents to the electricity supplier, he was told it could only be temporarily fixed each day because the fault lay underground.
Mr Taylor added that due to uncertainty over future power failures he was looking to buy a generator for the practice which could cost thousands of pounds.
Darren Drury, manager of Coral Bookmakers on Carlton Street, said the power outage disturbed trade on Saturday – his busiest day.
He added: “There’s not a lot we can do. We’re one of the only shops that stays open late too so there’s been occasions where the power cut has happened during the night and it’s affected us then.”
Santander customers had the least disruption due to the location of a second branch on the same street, but Halifax customers were left waiting hours to access their accounts.
A spokeswoman for the bank said: “Unfortunately, during this time we have been unable to offer a full service to our customers. We know this is extremely frustrating and we are doing everything possible to minimise the disruption.”
Power was restored to businesses just after midday on Monday but a Northern Powergrid spokesman confirmed engineers were still trying to find a permanent solution.
He said: “We apologise to our customers affected by this intermittent fault which was reported to us on Friday last week. We immediately deployed engineers with specialist equipment to restore power and try and locate the fault which lies on an underground cable.
“Intermittent faults on underground cables can be difficult to locate and we would like to assure our customers that as soon as the source of the problem is located, it will be repaired.”