The power cut that hit Harrogate town centre just after 4pm yesterday resulted in huge business losses for Cedar Court Hotel.
Though many businesses were only affected for a short time, Cedar Court, on Park Parade, lost power for almost six and a half hours between 4pm and 10.20pm.
General Manager of Cedar Court Hotel Simon Cotton was then forced to make the unprecedented decision to transfer all of their guests to other hotels across the town.
He said: “It has been a big headache for us and it has been very costly too.
“It happened at absolutely the worst possible time because our emergency lighting only lasts for three hours, so obviously with everything going off at 4pm it only lasted until 7pm.
“At this time of the year it gets dark at around 6.30pm, so just as we were losing daylight we also lost our lights.
“That’s also about the time that people start to arrive to check in, and the hotel was completely booked up. All 100 rooms were full and we even had two conferences aswell.”
The total cost of the power cut has yet to be fully calculated, though Mr Cotton believes it will reach a five figure sum for the hotel.
He said: “The sheer impact of it will certainly be in excess of £10,000 worth of business in one go, if not £15,000 or £18,000. I won’t know the full extent for a few days yet.”
Team leader at Northern Powergrid Jason Hardman said the cause of the power cut is still being investigated, though all customers now have some form of power.
He said: “We restored power to various customers throughout the day by rerouting the supplies.
“Unfortunately we had to connect some customers to generators.
“We eventually got power back to all customers by about 10.10pm.
“We have isolated the faulty cable and we are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
Roderick Stuart of Northern Powergrid said the fault lay with an underground cable that they are still trying to fix.
Cedar Court is one of the businesses currently running on a generator, and Mr Cotton said he was told that the hotel would have to rely on it over weekend, if not into next week.
The hotel lost far more than its electricity in the power cut, however, as the gas supply shut down and the water pumps also stopped working.
Mr Cotton said: “When the toilets have been flushed once, that is it, so from a sanitary point of view it is amazing how quickly things grind to a halt.”
Guests were moved from the hotel to others, including the Majestic, the Old Swan, and the Holiday Inn, from 6.15pm, and by 7.30pm only staff remained, working by candlelight in the reception.
Mr Cotton said: “The other hotels were extremely helpful and they really pulled together for us.
“One of the other general managers was actually on holiday but still phoned up and asked what she could do to help.
“We put the welfare and comfort of the guests first, and after driving to us for however long they want to arrive to a warm welcome and a comfortable bed and get something to drink, none of which we could provide.
“The fantastic thing is how understanding the guests have been. They have had nothing but praise for us and one guest wants to write to our head office to complement us.”
Mr Cotton will be celebrating his tenth anniversary as general manager at Cedar Court Hotel in two weeks time, but during his tenure he has never faced such an issue before.
“We are trained in crisis management but I have never had to make the decision to shut a business down,” he said.
“It is a concern that it is something that happens so often in the area and Northern Powergrid need to be looking very carefully at the supplies to Harrogate.
“We have had power cuts before but only for maybe half an hour, which is disruptive because it shuts down computer systems, and it is always a headache, but you can live with it.
“But when you move into the situation of hours rather than minutes it is a real problem.”
Were you affected by the power cut? Email email@example.com or call the newsdesk on 01423 707526.