Gills in the dark as power company pulls plug over unpaid bill
15:35 21 July 2006
Gillingham Football Club was plunged into darkness this week after electricity chiefs cut off the supply over an unpaid bill of a staggering £100,000.This weekend's Saturday Observer has revealed that fuming club chairman Paul Scally is planning to take legal action against EDF Energy for pulling the plug over 'continued non-payment of electricity bills'.The power giant says the move to cut the power was taken with 'great regret' but it got tough after threatening to cut the club off for seven months.Now Mr Scally says he will take legal action against the company and demand damages for the way it cut the supply.The chairman told the Saturday Observer: 'We are talking to lawyers about a substantial claim against EDF for damages caused by the manner in which they cut the power. That's all I'm prepared to say on the matter.'Engineers plunged the Priestfield stadium complex into darkness at 6.30pm on Tuesday.Frantic club officials were in turmoil as they tried to get the power re-connected in time for Saturday's pre-season friendly against Queens Park Rangers at the Medway stadium. The row threatened to cast a further shadow over the club which has admitted £10 million of debt. But Gillingham's bank manager authorised a payment to clear all the outstanding debt and get the lights turned back on.Once they knew the cash was coming, EDF Energy fast-tracked the process and power was back on late Thursday. An EDF spokesman told the Saturday Observer: 'To actually cut the power to a major business is a very rare occurrence.'But we were left with little choice. The club owed more than £100,000.'However, we are pleased to say the issue has now been resolved. We have bent over backwards to ensure the power is back on in time for the game - it can take up to six weeks to be reconnected in this sort of case.'• See this weekend's Saturday Observer for the full story.