SEVERAL businesses in Orange’s central business district were forced to close their doors and send staff home yesterday due to a four-hour-long blackout that started at 6.20am and impacted around 900 Essential Energy customers.
Staff at Anson Street’s Woolworths worked quickly to remove perishable items from the shelves, storing them in a back-up generator-powered refrigerator.
Supermarket manager Derryn Linke said while no stock was lost, it was a major inconvenience for staff and customers.
“We were lucky we could move everything to an isolated cool room," he said.
While the store's registers were still operational, many customers went elsewhere to buy essential items such as milk, cheese and meat.
Mr Linke said in the middle of the hectic morning he was “shocked” to receive a visit from management at Essential Energy.
“They were pretty good about it, and came to apologise,” he said.
“There's no way this (apology) would have happened in Bathurst.”
Staff at Whitey's Pies were also forced to take measures to ensure their food remained fresh, with owner Helen White telling the Central Western Daily just as the power supply resumed at 10.30am staff were only 30 minutes away from having to make a decision about discarding stock.
Mrs White said four bakers had worked throughout the night and it would have proved costly to have thrown the finished products out had they had been left unrefrigerated for too long.
While the store was still able to sell products such as muffins and cakes during the blackout, customers wanting items such as coffee and hot pies were forced to go elsewhere.
“I doubt we'd have to throw anything out but we'll have to look at the cream products ... had it been summer they wouldn't have lasted an hour,” she said.
Despite the inconvenience, Mrs White said she was not angry about the blackout.
“It's just one of those things that happen.”
Real estate agent Libby Seaman, from Ray White Orange, said her staff were sent home and called back to work when the blackout was over.
“It's an inconvenience for us but it probably doesn't cost me business,” she said.
“It’s bad for people in business who rely on power to make a living in these particularly difficult economic times.
“It’s hard if you're paying for a service that doesn't exist.”