By Bejay Browne
POLICE WERE called to the Pafian Sun hotel in Paphos on Wednesday after staff prevented electricity company technicians (EAC) from disconnecting the power supply because the hotel had failed to pay its bill, thought to be more than two hundred thousand euros.
Earlier, technicians had cut the power to its packed sister resort, the Pafian Park.
Employees formed a human barricade and refused to allow the electricity authority to disconnect the supply.
It is understood that the overdue amount was in excess of €200,000.
The EAC apologised for any inconvenience, adding that the company had been given many chances.
“The EAC’s effort is to avoid any power interruptions, more so when they affect tourists and by extent Cyprus as a tourist destination,” the EAC said in a statement.
The hotel currently has more than 350 guests and the Pafian Park around 300
The EAC said it had no other option as the company had repeatedly failed to pay its bills despite being given ample chances over the months.
“The hotel was supposed to have given the money to them before midday today, that’s why they came here to shut it off. First they went to our sister hotel the Pafian Park, which is about 2- 3km away and switched off the supply there,” a Pafian Sun employee who did not want to be named told the Cyprus Mail.
“All of the staff were standing in front of the door to where the electricity supply is housed and the police were called, many officers arrived,” he said.
The EAC was not the only one owed money.
“There are more than 60 employees here and we haven’t been paid since August,” said the 23-year-old Cypriot man who has worked at the hotel since August.
“The hotel was trying to find a solution to the outstanding bill as it is going to close in 15 days for the winter season. But they couldn’t sort it out, so the electricity authority came today.”
Police were called to the scene but staff replaced the locks to the electricity meters preventing the EAC from shutting off the supply.
“We are full now and were also in August and September. Some guests know what is going on and they cannot believe it,” the employee said.
He explained that the general manger had told them they would get their wages.
“But they say that every week. The owner of the hotel came here last week and said if I don’t pay you by Wednesday (today) I will close the hotel, but he hasn’t come yet, we still haven’t been paid and soon there will be no electricity.”
Meanwhile, before sunset, many guests at the Pafian Park tourist complex seemed unconcerned about the loss of the power supply, thinking it was part of wider power cut.
Some guests were informed – when checking in at around 5.30pm – that there was a temporary problem with the electricity supply which would be fixed within a couple of hours.
A noisy generator was providing some power, but handwritten signs stuck on the lobby’s main lift said it was out of order.
Kevin Deaney, 38, along with his wife and two young children arrived at the Pafian Park last Saturday and will return to the UK next Monday.
He said the power went off at about 2.30pm adding that no one informed the family about the electricity cut or the reason behind it.
They had visited Cyprus in July 2011 during the widespread power cuts that followed the Mari blast and had assumed yesterday’s cut was something similar.
“We haven’t thought about what we will do if the electricity doesn’t come back on. We haven’t considered that, as we just presumed the supply would be back later,” Deaney said.
CyBC reported last night that the EAC had finally restored power to the Pafian Park after the hotel’s owners had reached an agreement with the authority.