There was anger and frustration back in July when a series of power cuts hit the centre of Alresford.
The town centre was temporarily off-grid while planned works were carried out meaning the busy West Street and Broad Street shops – and homes – were powered by large generators. One of the rigs failed just after 9am on a Saturday morning and wasn’t back online until early afternoon. A similar power cut had taken place a few days earlier costing many businesses valuable trading time.
Winchester & Alresford MP, Steve Brine, took up the case and demanded answers from Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) for what he said was a "totally unacceptable debacle”. Speaking at the time he said: "Saturday morning is a key trading period for the shops in Alresford and they cannot afford to lose that income. I have spoken with a number of businesses in the town who said they had received no notice from SSEN that the works were even taking place so we clearly need to look into this.”
SSE did eventually respond to Mr Brine to confirm that the reason the Alresford generator ran out of fuel was due to a ‘miscalculation’ by them as to the correct amount of fuel required and they were keen to apologise to those businesses affected while confirming they have since revised their calculation methods to factor in additional fuel when re-fuelling.
Steve Brine says: "The apology was very welcome but, after a little encouragement, they offered to also make a donation of £500 to the town as a goodwill gesture via local charity which is really kind. I contacted the Alresford Pigs and we agreed the donation would be made to their 2017 Christmas Tree fund which plays such an important part in ensuring Alresford remains an attractive and vibrant destination during the key festive period. Many Alresford shops have challenges at this time and I know they need a good Christmas this year more than ever.”
Oliver Barnes from the Pigs, said: "We are thrilled with this generous gesture from SSEN and it’s very fitting we can use these funds to help light up Alresford’s Christmas.”
Ray Hunter, SSEN’s Network Construction Manager for the South East Region added: "Our customers and their communities are at the heart of everything we do, and we are delighted to be helping Alresford Pigs with this year’s Christmas tree.”
The famous Alresford tree goes up at the end of November with the big Arrival of Father Christmas event in the town on 13th December.