A POWER cut plunged more than 500 homes and businesses in Farnham town centre into darkness for much of Saturday.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) was alerted to the power outage in West Street and Downing Street at 7.58am, which it later blamed on a faulty underground cable.

A total of 534 customers were affected, and many shops were forced to close including Elphicks department store and Boots, while the pedestrian crossing opposite Boots was also knocked out of action for much of the day.

Up to five SSE vans were later seen parked in West Street as engineers struggled to fix the fault, and 466 customers had their power restored by 2.10pm, with the remaining 68 having to wait until 4.06pm.

A spokesman for Elphicks in West Street said staff arrived for work at 8am to find the store without power, and they lost almost a whole day’s trading as a result.

“It was a nightmare, and it couldn’t have happened on a worse day,” the spokesman added.

“In fairness to the electricity company, they did throw a lot of resources at it. But we also had some power cuts before Christmas, at our busiest time of year, and nobody’s really explained to us why yet.

“Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again!”

An SSE spokesman said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers, and thank them for their patience.”