BUSINESS owners at an industrial estate in Salisbury expect to lose thousands of pounds after a six-hour power outage was planned during the middle of a working day.

Energy company SSE warned of the disruptive works to replace low voltage cabling just 11 days before they were due to start in Churchfields.

The Journal understands that 27 businesses will be without power from 9am until 3pm on Tuesday, February 13.

David Naish, 58, group chief financial and procurement director at Salisbury Glass Centre, said the business has been forced to close two of its factories and he thinks it will lose "10s if not 100s of thousands of pounds" in lost income.

Salisbury Journal: Managing director Luke Gower, 33, and David Naish, 58, are closing Salisbury Glass Centre for the day.Managing director Luke Gower, 33, and David Naish, 58, are closing Salisbury Glass Centre for the day. (Image: Newsquest)

Feeling "mystified" by the reason behind the outage, Mr Naish said: "We’ve not had a great deal of information or time to do anything about it. As it transpires, insurance doesn’t cover for planned outages.

"We have looked into generators but it’s very short notice we were given. We were left with no choice but to close."

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Mr Naish recalled how during the last power outage, when a motorcyclist drove into a substation, SSE brought in a generator. However, on this occasion no help has been offered.

Across the road, Aquatec owner Tim Whitmarsh described the situation as "an absolute shambles and a disgrace".

Salisbury Journal: Tim Whitmarsh, owner of Aquatec, is staying open but muddling through.Tim Whitmarsh, owner of Aquatec, is staying open but muddling through. (Image: Newsquest)

The 50-year-old has been in business for 17 years and feels as though SSE has treated him "with contempt".

"My humble opinion is that if they had some competition they would look at it more sympathetically. It’s not just us it’s for our customers. We supply things for the hospital, plumbers and alms houses," he added.

Despite having no access to power and being unable to operate his warehouse, Mr Whitmarsh is going to stay open and try to “muddle through” as best as he can.

Mr Whitmarsh said he suggested SSE postpones its power cut until the evening or the weekend to reduce the impact on businesses but the electricity company declined.

Brian Clayton, 59, owner of Wessex Packaging, said his business is unable to open at all since even his front doors are electric.

Salisbury Journal: Wessex Packaging owner Brian Clayton, 59, with employees Dean Clayton and Tony Hartin.Wessex Packaging owner Brian Clayton, 59, with employees Dean Clayton and Tony Hartin. (Image: Newsquest)

"We’re not very happy. We’re quite busy at the moment and we’re going to lose at least £5k," he said.

Mr Clayton added that he was not consulted on the works and a letter detailing the final works was posted through his door on Friday, February 2.

The office for John Glen, Salisbury's MP, filed an official complaint against SSE on Wednesday, February 7.

Mr Glen told the Journal: "I was disappointed to learn from constituents and business owners on Churchfields that they will be without power for six working hours at the start of the week whilst SSE Networks replaces low voltage cabling.

"I have asked whether temporary generators can be used whilst the works take place, as currently, business on Churchfields risk significant losses and have already had to turn down work, planned weeks in advance.

"I am also keen to understand more about the consultation process undertaken with affected businesses to mitigate the impact on their operations, and why essential generators do not seem to have been provided so that businesses can continue their essential work."

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A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Electricity Network said: "SSEN is required by law to carry out customer connections to the infrastructure, and works with customers and the connections’ client to carry out this work as quickly and safely as possible, with minimal disruption.

“In this instance, all 27 customers affected by the Planned Supply Interruption (PSI) were given advance notice of these works – in line with Ofgem’s requirements - to enable customers to make alternative arrangements or generation of supplies, where possible.

“The timescale stated on the notice letter is estimated, but all efforts will be made to restore supplies as early as possible.”