People walk past a boarded up entrance to the Arndale centre in Manchester, northern England
Businesses are said to be severely affected by the outage in Manchester’s Arndale shopping centreReuters

A power cut is affecting hundreds businesses and homes across the city centre of Manchester, with officials warning it could take several hours to fix the problem.

Electricity North West said the outage was caused by an underground cable fault and power may not back until around 5pm today (30 June).

A spokesperson added the "worse case scenario" would mean the power could be down until 9pm.

The outage was initially reported around 11.40am, with more than 200 properties said to be affected across the centre and Deansgate area of Manchester.

The usually busy Arndale Centre was reported to only have six fully operating states in its building at the height of the power cut.

Several bars and restaurants hoping to take advantage of one of the hottest days of the year have also been forced to close their doors following the power outage.

An Electric North West spokesperson said: "We are aware of an underground cable fault currently affecting 212 properties in Manchester city centre, in and around Deansgate, South King St, St James St and Cross St.

"The properties were initially affected at 11.40am this morning and we are aiming to restore all properties by 5pm.

"Our engineers have arrived on site and we will be carrying out necessary repairs as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."