OVER 600 homes and businesses in Winchester were plunged into darkness this afternoon.

Southern Electric customers reported a power cut in Jewry Street and Staple Gardens area.

Among the businesses affected were Brasserie Blanc, Prezzo and Loch Fyne restaurants which had to turn away customers, and Winchester Law Courts where cases were postponed. 

A spokesman for Southern Electric said: “A fault occurred on our high voltage network just before 1.30pm this afternoon (February 25) which has initially affected around six hundred customers.

“Engineers are currently investigating and working to fix this as soon as possible. We want to apologise to our customers.”

Pasquale Tweedale, a bartender at Brasserie Blanc, said: “It went off at about 1.20pm and since then we’ve had to turn about 15 people away. We have had a few incidents where we have had to deal with the bills by hand as everything is done electronically.”

Brasserie Blanc assistant manager, Jennifer Nunes, said: “We can’t cook anything, we can’t sell coffees, we can’t even offer desserts such as bread and butter pudding. We’ve lost up to about £1,500.”

Assistant general manager at Loch Fyne, Jason Yarmey, said: “Southern Electric told me there is a problem with the main power line and it would be about one to three hours before it’s repaired.

“It’s going to mean a massive loss of trade and damage to our reputation as well. Some of our customers couldn’t have what they wanted to they left.”