Ocean Park merchants ‘left in dark’ over power cut

Delitalia owner Penny Verrando and Piquant owner David Narod were surprised when power was cut to their 128 Street businesses on Sunday. - Dan Ferguson photo
Delitalia owner Penny Verrando and Piquant owner David Narod were surprised when power was cut to their 128 Street businesses on Sunday.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson photo

Owners of several businesses in a 128 Street strip mall in Ocean Park said they had to scramble to find cold-storage facilities for their food products after a BC Hydro crew unexpectedly cut power last weekend.

David Narod, owner of Piquant Gourmet Specialties, one of six businesses located in the Ocean Centre mall near 16 Avenue, said the first notice he had that Hydro was planning to cut power to his business was when the alarm company phoned him Sunday morning to let him know there was no electricity.

Narod arrived to find the lights out and no power to run the walk-in cooler and other refrigerators he uses to keep his food fresh.

He was able to relocate the food to a friend’s cold storage faxility.

Penny Verrando, owner of the Delitalia Fine Food Italian Deli next door, didn’t find out until she arrived at the store that morning.

“I walked into my store at 9 o’clock and it’s black,” Verrando said.

She said she was able to find cold storage for most of the food in her store, except for some ice cream treats that melted.

“I have nine coolers,” Verrando said. “It was difficult.”

Judy Jones, owner of The Weathered Rooster, arrived shortly before Verrando.

When she discovered the power was out, she spoke to the crews working on a nearby utility pole. Jones said they told her the wooden pole was being replaced because it had signs of rot near the top.

When she checked with her landlord, Jones said she was told Hydro had notified him power would be cut, but not when.

She and the other owners say they received no notice of the planned power outage, but the power company claims they did.

“They insist that somebody told us,” Verrando sad.

But when she demanded to know how notice was given, she said the company was unable to provide details.

A BC Hydro spokesperson apologized to the customers through PAN Wednesday, admitting that four customers were not notified.

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