May 28, 2008
Hundreds of thousands of people were hit by electricity blackouts yesterday when seven power stations shut down. The unscheduled stoppages were regarded as an unprecedented sign of the fragility of Britain’s power infrastructure. Operations were cancelled, people were stuck in lifts, traffic lights failed and fire engines were sent out on false alarms. Householders were unable to use any appliances or make phonecalls as the blackouts hit areas including Cleveland, Cheshire, Lincolnshire and London. It was unclear last night why the power stations had failed. As the cuts escalated, the National Grid was forced to issue the most serious possible warning — “demand control imminent” — and urged suppliers to provide lower-voltage electricity to meet demand.
Energy suppliers affected by the shutdown, including British Energy and EON, said that they could not reveal the reasons for the cuts, nor would they say when some disrupted stations might resume service, because disclosure could affect the wholesale price of electricity. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4016552.ece