FED-up traders in South Tyneside have demanded action from a power supplier after the seventh blackout in as many weeks.
The latest electricity failure yesterday morning forced a number of shops in South Shields Market Place to close their doors for three hours.
It follows an earlier blackout for three consecutive days last month.
Now traders have called for a full investigation from Northern Power Networks.
Dave Hedley, who owns Market Cobbler, believes the constant breakdowns could be connected to ongoing work at Wouldhave House.
He said: “They say it’s a cable fault, but it could be something to do with the demolition work. They are pounding the living daylights out of that building and could easily have disturbed some cables.
“It’s very bad for business. When a customer comes in to collect some shoes they’ve had in for repair we have to tell them they’re not ready because our power was cut. They say ‘oh, yeah. sure’.”
Louise Murray, who co-owns Coffea Caban with husband Ewen, thanked her loyal customers for their patience, but admitted: “This just can’t go on”.
She said: “Thankfully, the customers have been lovely and have stuck with us, but even their patience has its limits. They say the issue has now been escalated up the importance level and is being dealt with by a senior engineer.
“I would accept a longer period without power to enable thorough checks to be carried out, if that meant getting to the bottom of this.”
A Northern Powergrid spokesman said: “The fault located underground is intermittent, so only when it occurs are we able to try to locate it.
“It could be something as small as a pin-sized hole letting in water – at this stage we just don’t know.
“We have prioritised the issue and are using specialist equipment to pinpoint it, only then can we carry out permanent repairs. We ask that everyone affected by the fault bears with us.”