Cut hit business at peak season
PUBLISHED: 11:53 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010
FOUR leisure centres were forced to close for several days or close off sections due the power cuts in the opening week of the school summer break, traditionally one of the busiest times of year. Erith Leisure Centre, Crook Log in Bexleyheath, Sidcup Lei
FOUR leisure centres were forced to close for several days or close off sections due the power cuts in the opening week of the school summer break, traditionally one of the busiest times of year.
Erith Leisure Centre, Crook Log in Bexleyheath, Sidcup Leisure Centre and Fairfield Pool, in Dartford, were all affected as their computers, phone systems and pool heating went down.
Andy Corcoran, national operations director for Parkwood Leisure, which runs the facilities, said: "It's very disappointing that our service has been disrupted at one of the busiest times of the year.
"One of the major problems for us is that even when power is restored there is a lot of work needed to make the pools safe to use.
"They have to be warmed up which takes time, chlorine levels need to be regulated.
"If anything, the sporadic power supply was worse because we have to explain to customers why some facilities are open and not others.
"We understand the electricity was disrupted by an arson attack, so we don't blame the power company.
"But last Monday and Tuesday would have been busy days for us, so its very disappointing."
Andrew Wellington owns domestic appliance shops in Bromley and Northumberland Heath called Wellington's, which has been run by the family for over 110 years.
He said: "It seems crazy that vandals could get into an area of such importance, bringing down power to such a big area.
"The power failure had a huge impact on us, we couldn't operate machinery vital to our business so we lost trade.
"Alarms to our warehouse in Crayford went down after the back-up batteries ran out so we had to employ a security firm at great expense.
"I know it must have been a shock for EDF to deal with saboteurs, if that's what happened, but they have to look at their own security."
Power was down since last Monday and finally restored at lunchtime last Thursday. The company has worked through a back log of customer orders, but only through paying its workers overtime.
An EDF spokesman said: "There was significant protection in place at this site. Security included solid steel doors at either end of the bridge which were locked with industrial padlocks.
"These locks were cut off with heavy duty tools and a deliberate fire was set."