PERSISTENT power cuts in Cowley Road are costing thousands of pounds in lost trade and leaving some smaller businesses struggling to pay their bills.

The series of power outages have been happening along a section of the East Oxford street for at least the past 12 months.

Traders say it affects one side of the road, between roughly Stockmore Street and Circus Street, with the most recent power cuts happening on Friday at about 6pm and then again throughout Saturday.

The Oxford Times: Liam Wain, manager of Atomic Burger. Picture by Richard Cave.

Liam Wain, manager of restaurant Atomic Burger, said they have been taking place approximately every two months for the past year.

He said: "On Thursday we had the lights in the kitchen go out so our staff were left cooking in the dark and we had to close early.

"Then all the appliances went off on Friday and it nearly caused a fire because the extractor fan in the kitchen stopped working.

"From what I understand it is to do with the wiring underneath Cowley Road but every time they just do a patch job.

"I feel like it is because they don't want to close such a busy road but it is having a big impact on businesses here."

"The last time it happened was over Christmas and we had to close during what is one of the busiest times of the year.

"They usually last for three or four days and it really is terrible for small businesses who are already dealing with Westgate drawing customers away.”

The Oxford Times: Il Principe on Cowley Road. Picture by Richard Cave

Domenico Iorio, 55, who owns Italian take away and deli Il Principe, said: "It's happening at our busiest times.

"We had to cancel deliveries on Friday and I was having to call customers to explain."

He estimated within a single evening he lost £700 in sales and stock due to having to close early and throwing out spoiled food.

His wife Elise, 52, added: "It has cost us thousands so far but is never properly fixed.

"There are three electric circuits in the building so sometimes it is the cooker not working, sometimes certain fridges or lights and we have to move things around.

"We spoke to the electricity company on Friday and they said they had to change a fuse.

"It is one thing if you are in your home and have no power but for a small business like us it means we are left struggling to pay the bills."

The mother-of-three explained: "We don't get compensation.

"The electricity company say we'll get it from the insurers, the insurers say they won't pay because it is the electricity company's fault and in the end we get nothing."

Other businesses affected include Nandos, with manager Charlie Partington stating the restaurant was closed throughout Saturday because there was no power.

A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) confirmed the energy company dealt with a power cut on part of Cowley Road on Friday which affected 51 properties and that power was restored at 8.40pm.

He said: "This was the result of a blown fuse and we are grateful to our customers for their patience while we fixed the problem."

He added added ongoing issues on the section of road were being investigated to see if they were the were all the result of the same fault and that as soon as SSEN had an update businesses would be informed.