NEW YEAR'S EVE BLACKOUT LEAVES PUBS OUT OF POCKET by Victoria Corbett
January 04, 2006
NEW Year revellers were plunged into darkness and silence when a series of power cuts struck pubs and restaurants in Wokingham on their busiest night of the year.
Businesses reported punters drinking up and walking out when they got tired of waiting for music and lights to return, although some customers enjoyed the candlelight atmosphere.
Short power cuts at about 7.30pm and 10pm on New Year’s Eve were followed by a more serious outage at 10.50pm which lasted nearly five hours.
Some homes were without power until 4.30am on Sunday, January 1, prompting Southern Electric to send out portable
generators as a temporary
Sharon Miller-McKenzie, a spokeswoman for Southern Electric, said this type of power cut was rare and an investigation into the cause was taking place.
The company said Easthampstead Road, Waterloo Road, Honey Hill, London Road and Froghall Drive were all affected, but businesses in Peach Street, Market Place and Denmark Street also reported loss of power.
At The Plough pub in London Road 20 drinkers walked out in search of a better atmosphere after 30-minutes without disco lights and music.
Manager John Wright said: “We had already done the buffet so it didn’t effect food. My tills went down so we went back to the old fashioned method of pens and paper.
“I probably lost 20 people who got fed up of not having any music or lights.”
At Hilton St Anne’s Manor Hotel in London Road there was no power for nearly an hour, according to duty manager Ian Tatum.
He said food continued to be served because the kitchen has gas cookers but there were several complaints from diners asking for refunds, which the hotel is currently considering.
Tricia Taylor, manager of The Redan pub in Peach Street, said the power flickered on and off at least four times during the evening which was “not appreciated” by punters.
She said: “It went off around four times for a couple of
minutes at a time. All the lights went off and the music went off as well.
“My customers didn’t really appreciate it because it’s not what you want on New Year’s Eve but fortunately none of them left.”
Businesses in Peach Street also told The Times that burglar alarms were set off and engineers had to be called out to reset them.
Tony Head, assistant manager at The Crooked Billet in Honey Hill, said the pub was affected by the power cut for an hour.
But he said customers sang their own songs by candlelight which “made the night a bit
Customers at Baranda in Peach Street also felt the effects of the power cut, with delays to food orders and some customers
leaving as a result.
Mrs Miller-McKenzie said: “We would like to apologise to customers who found themselves without electricity.
“We are investigating what we believe to be a fault on an underground cable.
“As soon as we knew what the problem was we were on site, but we had surprisingly few calls from customers complaining about the power.”