Plans to cut power near Donegal town next Tuesday have sparked off a furious reaction among local business owners.
The ESB recently sent notices to 120 addresses on and around the Killybegs road saying that the power supply will be turned off between 10am and 3pm next Tuesday to allow works to be carried out.
The business people who will be affected say they cannot afford the loss of custom if they try to work without power or the cost of hiring a generator to stay open. They approached the local ESB to ask if the works could be carried out earlier in the day, at night, or for a few hours a day over a few days, instead of all in one day. However, they say, the ESB was “totally unhelpful and showed no flexibility at all”.
Emma Cassidy, who owns the Angel Hair salon, is distraught because she has a wedding party due to come in next Tuesday morning.
”I don’t see any way that we’ll be able to manage if the power is off. I’m just sick about it. I got a quote for hiring a generator but was told it would cost €280 for the day, and that’s before paying for the diesel to run it. We can’t afford that kind of extra expense with margins as tight as they are at the moment.”
Emma had intended bringing and extra three staff in for the day but now that’s in jeopardy.
“It’s an awful situation. I just don’t understand why they can’t agree a more flexible arrangement, especially when we saw ESB crews out in Frosses and Ballyshannon on Sunday.
“If they worked in the private sector, they’d soon know all about it. I have to open six days a week and even come in on some Sundays. Why should it be any different for them?”
Emma Maughan of Doherty Tiles, is equally upset.
“We can’t work without electricity. We sent letters of complaint in to the ESB and said we would be willing to work with them, but there is no working with them. We suggested that they could start and finish earlier, say from 7.30 to 10.30, over two days but they said that would not be possible. All businesses in this day and age have to work around their customers. We do and it’s about time the ESB started to as well.”
Neilly McGroarty of McGroarty Electrical says the power cut means the loss of a day’s trade.
“It’s a big inconvenience. It will mean the loss of a day’s trade basically if it goes ahead. Even if they could start and finish earlier, it would make a big difference because the bulk of our trade on weekdays is at lunchtime. But I’m not optimistic. I know from experience that the ESB are quite inflexible. “Maybe we are just being too lax with them.”
Patrick Burke of Kelly Cleaning Equipment says his company won’t be the worst-affected because they have a generator but it’s still an inconvenience. “The generator will keep our lights and computers going, but we will be very limited regarding the servicing that we’ll be able to do. We’ll certainly be ensuring that all our vans will be out on the road all day next Tuesday, to minimize the impact.”
Rosaleen Curran and Deirdre Kennedy of Tots & Tassles say they can’t understand why the works have to be carried out during business hours. “Many’s the Bank Holiday gone by when they could have done it,” Rosemary comments, while Deirdre adds “This is a very busy time for us with all the visitors to the town and with parents sorting out their children’s uniforms for back to school.”
Mary Meehan of Verve couldn’t agree more. “It’s ridiculous that they’re shutting the electricity off in the middle of the day when businesses are open.”
A spokesperson for the ESB told the Donegal Democrat yesterday: “The ESB issued advance notice of the power cut two weeks ago in order to allow essential safety works to be carried out to the local network. Customers were notified two weeks in advance to allow them to make alternative arrangements.”