Power losses irk Canton Square merchants Business owners report 6 to 12 service disruptions

June 07, 1996|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

Merchants in Canton Square are complaining about repeated daytime power outages in the past month that have stopped work at businesses and lightened lunchtime crowds at restaurants.

Most of the complaints have come from the north side of O'Donnell Street, where business owners report between 6 and 12 interruptions of electric service in the past four weeks. Vivian Clarke, owner of the Claddagh Pub, says one of the outages shut her down for lunch, and others have cut the power to the boxes she uses to keep beer and food cold.

"It's been close," says Claddagh chef Billy Hughes. "We've had to bring in ice so we didn't lose food."

The outages have become so much a part of life that Kirby Addington, owner of Canton Square Video, now keeps small flashlights in the store. When customers come in during an outage, Addington hands out flashlights and encourages them to look around for movies.

"A lot of the people coming in like shopping in the dark," said Addington, 42, who has owned the store at 3000 O'Donnell St. for three years. "But for me, it's kind of hard to do anything when there's no lights."

The outages appear to be related to paving and renovation work along Boston Street, where a new Safeway Supermarket is being built, said Darcel Guy, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric. Efforts to reach Larry Johnson, a spokesman in Safeway's district office in Maryland, were unsuccessful.

For May, company records show four power outages caused when contractors -- in one case, the Department of Public Works -- hit lines while working near or at the Safeway site. DPW spokesman Kurt Kocher said the hitting of the line was "inadvertent."

Guy said she did not know the names of the other contractors who hit the lines.

"We are not entirely sure exactly who did the damage," Guy said, "but we know the damage was done."

Pub Date: 6/07/96

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