Tweed shoppers left in the dark

SOME people were trying to shop, others just wanted to pay bills.

But customers could do neither yesterday when a power blackout forced a number of South Tweed businesses to close their doors.

A large section of stores inside Tweed City Shopping Centre on Minjungbal Drive were hit by the power outage, which occurred about 10.20am.

With no lights, no computers or cash registers, many were left no choice but to shut their shops.

Some customers moved to another section of the centre to continue their shopping, while others simply sat down and waited for the power to come back.

The centre's underground car park was also left in darkness, which had the potential to cause chaos among the exiting traffic. But nearby traffic lights were not affected.

Staff at Prouds Jewellers found themselves acting as “bouncers”, having to block the store's open doorway to stop people from entering the darkened premises.

About 170 homes and businesses went without power, but most were reconnected by midday.

Country Energy said yesterday afternoon it was investigating the incident, which was caused by a damaged underground cable at a Banora Point substation

Some people reported hearing a loud bang, similar to an explosion, in the South Tweed area in the morning.

The electricity company's Far North Coast general manager Richard Wake said that might have been the case.

“There was no risk of injury to any of our customers but when a fuse blows there can be a sound like that of an explosion,” Mr Wake said.

Despite being close to Tweed City, Toyworld was not affected by the blackout and continued to trade as usual.

But shops in the Homemart complex, further south on Minjungbal Drive, also went without power during the morning.

Hungry customers were turned away from takeaway food stores, which had no power to cook food or process sales.

Staff at Baby's Breath Bridal and Formal Wear were counting themselves lucky, escaping yesterday's blackout after going without electricity for most of the trading day on Friday.

Mr Wake said a specialist crew would repair the damaged 11,000 volt cable and try to find the cause of the problem.

“Country Energy workers were able to switch around the problem area in Soorley Street and progressively restored supply to all by just after (midday),” he said.

“We provide an essential service and we know that interruptions like these cause inconvenience, so we thank our customers for their patience while power was being restored.”



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