Power cuts cost businesses dear – BVWM

BUSINESSES are suffering more power cuts than official statistics suggest, says the body representing businesses across the West Midlands.

Now Business Voice West Midlands has written to energy regulator Ofgem claiming that outtages are costing businesses millions, with some experiencing repeated problems at the expense of production and profitability.

BVWM says a series of surveys is has co-ordinated shows the problem is more widespread than had been thought.

West Midlands Chambers of Commerce found that 63.7 per cent of firms responding had experienced power cuts during the last two years, many several times over, causing considerable disruption.

Most claimed they were never told what the problem was, had never been advised how best to prepare for a power cut, and did not have a back-up generator.

All 28 companies in an online survey for BVWM and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales reported having suffered a power cut in the past two years. A quarter had suffered up to ten power cuts; over a third even more.

Similarly, the British Ceramic Confederation cited examples of badly affected businesses:

    * A Cannock company which had suffered up to five power cuts in the last two years which knocked production and affected productivity.
    * A factory in Newcastle under Lyme had suffered up to five power cuts over the last two years.
    * A Coventry concern which reported that a loss of power would typically result in a one hour stoppage.

In his letter to Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan, BVWM Executive Director James Watkins said: “Power cuts in parts of the West Midlands region are becoming a feature that is being felt more and more by businesses.

“These power cuts are affecting everyday operations, are increasing costs and impairing competitiveness.”

“We appreciate that the details do not seem to relate to the figures produced by Ofgem in respect of power cuts in the West Midlands region.

“We would be grateful, therefore, if Ofgem could provide us with data for power outages for the East and West Midlands and how these are broken down.”

BVWM has asked for details of planned outages, interference, environmental conditions or other explanations.

Business Voice WM is an umbrella organisation for the West Midlands, and member bodies inclde chambers of commerce and industry bodies such as the Federation of Small Business and the EEF.