Scheduled power cut not happening hurt business

Sally Smith
Sally Smith
Roxburgh businesses have been left outraged and out of pocket by an Aurora Energy scheduled maintenance outage that never happened.

Aurora Energy first notified businesses in the town’s main street — Scotland St — in December power would be cut to the street last Tuesday between 9am and 4pm and businesses made plans accordingly.

The day came and went and the power stayed on.

The owner of 103 The Store, Sally Smith, said Aurora never notified businesses of the change in plans.

"We took it as that was what was happening and were never told any different."

At 10am the store still had power and she spoke to a Delta lines crew working nearby who told her the power would not be cut.

She was counting the cost of a day’s lost trade, wages paid to her seven staff, a hire generator, and an electrician to set it up.

"We are out of pocket big time."

Conservatively, Ms Smith estimated takings lost to be about $4500 but that figure was often more "depending on the day", wages paid to staff to be $1000, and she had yet to be billed for the generator and electrician needed to keep food chilled.

She had sent a letter of complaint but did not expect to receive much feedback, she said.

PGG Wrightsons Roxburgh store manager Liz Morton said she had implemented plans to cover all bases.

That included informing bosses "further up the food chain" in the national agricultural supplies and services business confirming if the store could still open.

Transactions could proceed manually via a manual transaction book but due to there being only one book, she told a staff member not to come into work.

She told other company sites the phone system would be down and to contact her by cellphone and had technicians in Dunedin re-route internal calls to the store to her cellphone, Mrs Morton said.

"By 10.30am I went on their [Aurora’s] website and filed a complaint.

"I got a reply that said, ‘If it isn’t off by now, it won’t be’."

A further message to ask why businesses weren’t informed went unanswered, Mrs Morton said.

Teviot Tearooms owner Simon Holmes said the non-outage was more of a nuisance than a financial burden, as he did not open on Tuesdays.

Still he had planned for it since he was called by Aurora in December.

"I run seven refrigerators," Mr Holmes said.

He had tried to file a complaint on Aurora’s website but a glitch meant it "didn’t go through", Mr Holmes said.

Aurora did not respond to questions sent by the Otago Daily Times on Friday.


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