December 27, 2013
Many downtown stores took a major hit during one of the busiest shopping days of the year, when a power cut struck which lasted throughout most of the day on Christmas Eve.
Stores on the north side of Bay Street, from Charlotte Street heading east to Parliament Square, were understood to have been affected by the loss of electrical power as Bay Street thronged with local and visiting shoppers looking to make last minute purchases. Some retailers were unable to open at all, while others were forced to suffer sales losses.
Sarah Hug, owner of Sarah's Secrets in the Prince George Plaza, said she could not begin to put into words how upset she was at the situation.
"People don't want to come in because it's too hot, and we have had to call in every (credit/debit card) charge; people are getting frustrated and walking away." Hug did not want to speculate on how much business she may have lost as a result of the power cut, as the day was not yet over and she remained "optimistic".
Gevon Moss, executive administrator of the downtown advocacy organization, the Downtown Nassau Partnership, said he began receiving calls about the outages from concerned store operators early on Christmas Eve.
He was informed by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) that the power went out on Monday evening, but technicians were unable to reach the source of the problem as it was in a private area.
"Some of the work they couldn't get started on until the property owners arrived. We've been in touch and they said they are working diligently to get it resolved," said Moss.
Guardian Business understands that a number of stores which had electronic shutters covering their shop fronts were unable to open at all throughout the day. Among the larger businesses affected by the outage were the Cosmetics Boutique, owned by John Bull, and Athena Cafe.
In a statement from BEC, the corporation said crews confirmed they were able to gain access to the problem area just before the start of the business day on Tuesday morning, after learning of the outage around 9.15 p.m. on Monday night.
At around 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, crews were still working in the area and BEC said it expected the power supply to be restored by Tuesday evening.
"The corporation offers its sincere apologies to those businesses and shoppers impacted by the outage in the Bay and Charlotte Street area and assure them that it is working speedily to have the supply restored.
"BEC assures its customers in New Providence and the Family Islands that it is fully committed to providing a safe and reliable supply of electricity to its customers during this holiday season as throughout the year."
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