Large parts of Europe suffered power cuts lasting up to 90 minutes overnight. The problem seems to have originated in Germany, and power was cut to other parts of Europe in a kind of “domino effect”. France appears to have been worst affected, with supplies to an estimated five million people disrupted.
Experts say it seems the system was not able to cope with a surge in demand with the sudden arrival of cold weather. The power did slowly return, much to the relief of those trapped in lifts, or those trying to enjoy a Saturday night in a club or restaurant.
“It went on for quite a while,” said a man in a club in Belgium. “There was panic because no one told us anything. There were just us, lost among the masses, saying what’s up, what’s happened?” “Of course there was fear,” said the club’s owner. “It really hits home, no electricity on a Saturday night. We’re only open on Friday and Saturday, so the weekend’s very important.”
A network emergency system takes over when there is a major problem, cutting power to a section of users to avoid a complete blackout. While some households went without power for up to 90 minutes, other cuts lasted from just a few minutes to quarter of an hour. An investigation is underway to find out what exactly went wrong.