THOUSANDS of families and scores of businesses were left without power for hours after an electrical fault.

People across Rochford suffered the blackout after a fault on the energy grid, according to EDF Energy.

Problems with flickering lights were reported Westcliff and Leigh, but the power cuts were limited to the Rochford, Hockley and Hawkwell areas.

The problems started at 9pm on Monday, and were not sorted out until 3.30am yesterday.

Tony Hudson, general manager of Clements Hall leisure centre in Hockley, said: “We had issues on Monday night. The power clicked on and off.

“Some of the cardiovascular machines in the gym were affected, but we had ample emergency electric lighting. The swimming pool was affected and the temperature dropped dramatically to about 26 degrees.

“The showers were also affected, because pumps are electric so there was no pressure.

The pool was very cold yesterday morning, but the power did come back on and the temperature got back to normal again.”

He said despite the problems the staff tried to carry on as best they could.

Jenny Davis, spokeswoman for EDF Energy, apologised for the problem and said staff worked through the night to solve it.

She added: “Power was interrupted to 3,258 customers in the Rochford area at 7.05pm on Monday after a fault developed on our high-voltage electricity network.

“EDF Energy Networks restored power to a thousand customers at 9.02pm. Work continued throughout the evening and into the early hours to resolve the problem.

“Customers were reconnected to the electricity supply in stages throughout the night. “Power was restored to the final customers at 3.35am yesterday.”