Sunday 22 September 2019

Businesses may have lost €1m in 'hugely damaging' city centre blackout

Paul Richardson, manager at O’Donoghue’s Pub
Paul Richardson, manager at O’Donoghue’s Pub
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Hundreds of businesses across Dublin city centre were plunged into darkness due to a "hugely damaging" power outage.

Up to 4,500 ESB customers were left without power at 11.15am due to an interference from ongoing construction works.

During the lunchtime rush, many cafes and restaurants were forced to close - DublinTown, which represents city centre businesses, says it may have cost businesses up to €1m.

Pat McEvoy, manager of O'Brien's Cafe on Merrion Row, told the Herald that about 90pc of his day's business was lost.

"Our card machine was down and the only thing we could sell was cold sandwiches," he said.

"However, since we couldn't offer them a free coffee to go with them, customers were going elsewhere.

"This would be by far our busiest time - 90pc of our business is gone and we will have to throw out a lot of food as a result. It was hugely damaging."

Up the road at O'Donoghue's Pub, manager Paul Richardson said the business had lost the equivalent of 20 pints of beer.

"Whenever the electricity goes out, the beer froths up very high and starts to get warm.

"Thankfully, our fridges were still working and we were putting pint glasses in them to try to keep the beer as cold as possible.

"It could have been a whole lot worse. If the power went out on Friday evening or during an Ireland match, we would have been in big trouble," he said.

Ursula Shields, manager of Hugo's restaurant on Merrion Row, said that the outage cost her over €1,000. "We had no choice but to close," she said.

"We would normally get between 70-80 people in during this time and I would say the loss we've experienced is over €1,000."

In the early afternoon, the ESB restored power across the city. It said the issues were due to a "large fault" in the Dublin 1 and Dublin 2 areas, arising from a connection to a transformer in Temple Bar.

City council offices in Woodquay, Dublin 8, were also among those without power.

Speaking to RTE Radio One, ESB's operations manager Derek Hynes said that the fault was caused by third-party contractors carrying out works at different premises across the city.

"In our volt substation in Temple Bar, which we call Bedford Row, we had the tripping of a transformer that feeds a number of cables across the city centre," he said.

"At the same time, we had three separate notifications of potential contact with the underground cable network when these contractors were carrying out civil works in a couple of different locations in the Grafton Street-Dawson Street area.

"What we suspected is that we had two or three simultaneous faults on the underground network, causing the transformer to trip," he said.


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