Transport Chaos Across England and Wales After Major Power Cuts

Energy watchdog Ofgem warns it could take ‘enforcement action’ over the outage

Power cuts spark transport chaos in London – video

Large parts of England and Wales were left without electricity following a major power cut that had a serious impact on rail and road services, including city traffic lights.

Passengers were shut out of some of the country’s busiest train stations during the Friday evening rush hour, while hundreds of thousands of homes were left without electricity after what the National Grid described as a problem with two generators.

British Transport police said officers were asked to help as services on the east coast mainline, as well as those into and out of St Pancras station were suspended, with many customers being advised not to travel. London’s Euston station, the southern hub for the west coast mainline, was also closed because of “exceptionally high passenger numbers”. The outage was also affecting other rail services and, reportedly, some traffic lights.

A National Grid spokesperson said the generator issues had caused “loss of power in selected UK areas”. They described the event as “unexpected and unusual”, saying: “Even though these events are outside of our control, we have plans in place to respond and the system operated as planned by disconnecting an isolated portion of electricity demand.

“We appreciate the inconvenience caused but this action allows the system to protect itself and limit the fall in frequency, allowing for power to be quickly restored. By 6.30pm [on Friday], all demand was restored by the distribution network operators. The system is operating normally.”

On Friday night, the energy watchdog, Ofgem, warned it could take “enforcement action” over the outage, saying it had demanded an “urgent detailed report from National Grid so we can understand what went wrong”.

About 500,000 customers in Wales, south-west England and the Midlands were affected and 300,000 customers in south-east England were left without power, the local distributors said. A further 110,000 in Yorkshire and north-east England were affected, alongside about 26,000 in north-west England, according to the electricity distributors in those areas.

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