City businesses suffer losses during power outage

The islandwide power outage which happened just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday proved to be costly for the businesses based in Bridgetown.

For many of them, the outage is estimated to have lasted around between two to three hours but did not compromise the products on sale. However CS Pharmacy, which is located on Lower Broad Street, estimates losses to be at least $1 000 during the outage.

“Everything is computerised and digital so all the systems were down and after they came back we had to reboot everything,” CEO Cranston Browne said. “Thankfully it only took about five minutes for it all to be back online. I can’t guess exactly how much money would have been lost because of it but on a day like today in the business we are in, I think you may be looking at $1000-$2000.”

Assistant Retail Manager at Collins Limited, Michael Matthews, also cited the proximity to payday as the reason why they would also feel a financial hit. Their power was restored around 2:20 p.m.

Matthews said “I don’t know how much we’d have lost because every day is different but we will lose money on that for sure. The start of the month is very busy. Most people get paid at the end of the month so a lot of people do their shopping around that time.”

Hair salon Paradise Beauty displayed some ingenuity to keep business going during their busy period by asking staff to use the flashlights on their mobile devices.

Paradise Beauty closed their doors, but admitted customers but the twos and threes. (Picture by Reco Moore)

“For security reasons we had to close the doors, but we were letting customers in by the twos and threes at a time and used the lights on our phones in order to facilitate them,” said manager Sherry-Ann Barker. “That would have obviously affected sales but otherwise it was okay.”

Barker said that in future they will be considering the purchase of a generator in order to avoid being affected by circumstances like this.

Manager Director of Woolworth, Martin Bryan, said they were not impacted in the same manner as their backup generator ensured they could continue operating their cash registers as well as maintain visibility in the store. However, up until the electricity came back management was discussing if a lack of comfort for customers meant they should close the store.

“We were coming towards the thinking that we would have to close because the air conditioning was not on so that was the decision we were going to come to when it came back. The impact on shopping comfort, as well as staff, because obviously with the AC units off, it would have been a bit hot and stuffy in here,” Bryan said.

By 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Barbados Light & Power announced they had safely restored 75% of their customers affected by the outage and by 5:15 p.m. all were back online, although some customers in St James complained of outages later in the night.

The company will also be checking to ascertain what caused the outage which started at the Spring Garden generating plant. (JC)


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