Businesses across the region have called for answers from Ofgem after a survey found that nearly two thirds had suffered power cuts in past two years.

Business Voice West Midlands has written to the energy regulator amid concerns that breakdowns are now happening more frequently than ever.

West Midlands Chambers of Commerce found that 63.7 per cent of firms responding had experienced power cuts during the last two years, many several times over, causing considerable disruption.

Most claimed they were never told what the problem was, had never been advised how best to prepare for a power cut, and did not have a back-up generator.

All 28 companies in an online survey for BVWM and the Institute of Chartered Accountantsin Englandand Walesreported having suffered a power cut in the past two years. A quarter had suffered up to ten power cuts; over a third even more.

The effects had been damaging and included disrupted production and trading, subsequent equipment problems, loss of productivity, increased operational costs and a negative impact on customers.

In his letter to Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan, BVWM Executive Director James Watkins said: “Power cuts in parts of the West Midlandsregion are becoming a feature that is being felt more and more by businesses.

“These power cuts are affecting everyday operations, are increasing costs and impairing competitiveness.”

Highlighting apparent contradictions between the surveys and official statistics, he went on: “We appreciate that the details do not seem to relate to the figures produced by Ofgem in respect of power cuts in the West Midlandsregion.

“We would be grateful, therefore, if Ofgem could provide us with data for power outages for the East and West Midlands and how these are broken down.”

In particular BVWM has asked for details of planned outages, interference, environmental conditions or other explanations.