Britain

Travel misery continues – a day after major power cut affects 1m

Energy watchdog Ofgem has demanded an urgent report from National Grid after a major power cut caused "apocalyptic" rush-hour scenes and cut electricity for almost one million people in England and Wales.

Friday's blackout just before 5pm stopped traffic lights from working, plunged Newcastle Airport into darkness, affected Ipswich Hospital and caused huge disruption on the railways, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

Further delays affected some trains on Saturday morning, with London North Eastern Railway cancelling several services.

National Grid operations director, Duncan Burt, says Friday's power cut was a

The National Grid Electricity System Operator said issues with two generators caused the loss of power, affecting London and the South East, the South West, the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Wales.

Ofgem said on Friday night: "In any incident the priority is to get power restored to customers as quickly as possible. National Grid has now informed Ofgem that the system has been restored.

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"However, Ofgem understands the frustration this power cut has caused consumers. Ofgem has asked for an urgent detailed report from National Grid so we can understand what went wrong and decide what further steps need to be taken. This could include enforcement action."

Passengers tried to get around in the dark
Image: Passengers tried to get around in the dark
Clapham Junction was hit by the outage
Image: Clapham Junction was hit by the outage

National Grid described the loss of power across the country as a "very, very rare event" that had not been seen on this scale since 2008.

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Operations director Duncan Burt told Sky News there had been a "near simultaneous loss of two large generators".

He explained: "The system isn't built to withstand that level of loss without going into secondary safety measures and the loss of supply that we saw last night."

National Grid would be working with the rest of the industry to examine how this could be prevented in the future, Mr Burt said.

He added: "We spend out lives working 24/7 across the industry to make sure people have reliable power. It's really important and when it's not there we really feel it as we did last night.

"We will be looking through all of the signals, metering and data that we have from this with a fine toothcomb… to make sure we have got things set up as well as we can and wherever possible we avoid the sort of disruption that we saw."

Stations were affected by the outage
Image: Stations were affected by the outage

About 300,000 UK Power Networks customers were affected in London and the South East and Western Power Distribution said around 500,000 people were affected in the Midlands, South West and Wales, with power restored to them all shortly after 6pm.

Northern Powergrid, which serves Yorkshire and the North East, said 110,000 of its customers lost power, while Electricity North West said at least 26,000 people were without power in the North West of England.

Waterloo was also affected by the outage
Image: Waterloo was also affected by the outage

Ipswich hospital was affected, with a spokesman telling Sky News: "[We were] without power for about 30 minutes, all of our teams kept all of our patients safe, and we are now back up and running."

Newcastle Airport was plunged into darkness for about 15 minutes.

One passenger, Scott McKenzie, said: "It was a bit worrying to start – more so because various alarms were going off and staff clearly didn't quite know what was going on either.

"Some of the spaces in the airport have little daylight – we were literally plunged into darkness and people were using their phones as torches to see and get around."

Scenes at Clapham junction, commuters using phone lights in the tunnels. Also I just got trapped on the train as the doors stopped working. pic.twitter.com/wJjBAmoiOd

— Ais Green (@AislingJane_) August 9, 2019

There were chaotic scenes across England during Friday's peak rush-hour, with traffic lights down and trains coming to a standstill.

Frustrated passengers stranded at King's Cross in central London after the outage branded the lack of help as "astonishing".

Large crowds of families with children, elderly people and others with disabilities were among those left waiting hours for information after all servRead More – Source

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