With only three weeks before Christmas, some stores in George Town will be without power on Saturday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Electrical service will be interrupted on Elgin Avenue during business hours Saturday, 4 December, according to Caribbean Utilities Company spokesperson Neil Murray.
The electricity company delivered a notice of power interruption to the business owners of Arboretum Plaza on Elgin Avenue Thursday morning, giving tenants only two days’ notice.
The note read: “We regret that it has become necessary to interrupt service in your area on Saturday the 4 December 2010 between the hours of 7.30am to 5pm. This is required to do work which will improve our service to you.”
But Off the Peg’s owner Karen Marshall, one of the shop owners in the affected plaza, disagrees.
“We’ve had a horrible month, ever since the road construction started, really,” she said.
“I’ve got all my money in this Christmas stock. And in less than 48 hours I have to shut the door during peak Christmas shopping hours.”
Off the Peg sells women’s clothing and accessories and depends on the Christmas shopping season, with holiday sales tripling the rest of the year’s sales, according to Ms Marshall.
The store has six employees, all Caymanian.
Ms Marshall asked if CUC would shut down power along Eastern Avenue, where big retailers like Kirk Home Centre are located.
She noted that Off the Peg is just a small business.
“It’s like we don’t count,” she said.
The road widening project along Elgin Avenue has also hindered Off the Peg’s business recently, sometimes because of roadblocks. On Thursday, Ms Marshall had to once again wipe off a thick layer of dust that had accumulated on the front windows of her store as a result of the roadwork.
Robert Bodden, who owns Robson Construction in the plaza, is also the owner of the building.
“I support the tenants. They still have to pay their rent,” he said.
“We all object to having the power turned off.
They need to bring in a small generator so people can have power.”
But it’s not common practise for CUC to bring in a generator, according to Mr. Murray.
“The weekend is the only time we can do (construction).
It’s the best time for our guys,” he said.
“It’s planned work that has being going on, on the street and we’ve been upgrading those lines for the last few weeks.”
Mr. Murray explained that the businesses will have some power interruptions, but CUC is not sure about the extent of the interruptions.
As for the short notice of the power interruption, he said that is up to the planning department at CUC as to when the notices are sent.
But this is unacceptable, according to Ms Marshall.
“I’ve got three weeks to make up my entire year,” she said. “For some companies, it means, ‘are we going to keep the doors open or not?’”
“My livelihood depends on the store being open.”
Caymanian Compass reporter Alan Markoff also contributed to this article