Collective action planned over costs of power cut

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Clyde retailers plan to join the town’s hospitality sector and other businesses in billing Aurora Energy for revenue lost due to an unscheduled blackout on June 14.
Businesses along the Central Otago town’s retail strip, Holloway St, have been tallying losses from what was traditionally the busiest trading day of the week, to email to the electricity network.

This follows an advertisement published in last week’s edition of The News apologising for the almost nine-hour power cut, promising a $50 credit to all 1200 affected customers and asking businesses to email the company.

That is an offer affected retailers spoken to intend to take up, amid talk of banding together with every other Clyde business to bill the company collectively.

Bike It Now director Kathryn Fletcher said she was collating figures from previous Sundays but estimated losses would be significant.
The popularity of cycling had rocketed during lockdown and that momentum was something she had seen once her business was able to operate from Level 2 on.
Sales of bikes had been strong, she said.
‘‘Bikes are the new toilet paper; everyone [cycling retailers] is waiting for 2020-21 bikes to come in.’’ The power cut was an embarrassment because a cycle tour party was due to arrive.
‘‘We were in pitch black. We usually do itinerary briefings over coffee in one of the cafes. We had to do it out the back because that was the only place with enough light.’’

Women’s wear retailer Anna McRitchie, of Lily & Esther, said a typical Sunday at this time of year could bring in about $1000, which was ‘‘pretty good’’.
‘‘We’ve just got over this . . . Covid.’’

Eade Gallery owner Melanie Eade said she and her husband Rex lived above their business so monitoring when power was restored was easy but when the light came back on at 4pm there was ‘‘no point’’ in opening.
The nature of her business meant takings for a day could vary but the loss of a day’s trade was potentially worth $900 to $3000.
She believed the town’s tightknit business would work together on pressuring Aurora for compensation.
‘‘Maybe we go straight to the Commerce Commission.’’