Blackouts affect thousands in Britain's worst power shortage in four years


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Mar 5, 2006
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Tens of thousands of households experienced electricity blackouts on Tuesday as Britain suffered its worst power shortage for four years.

National Grid issued "a demand control imminent" warning – something it is forced to do no more than once every four years – as nine power stations fell out of action. The most notable was Sizewell B, the nuclear power station near Leiston, Suffolk.

The plant was closed for "unexpected maintenance", which the company said was no cause for alarm.

However, the plant is not expected to be running for a day or two.

It shut down within two minutes of Longannet, a coal-fired power station in Fife, Scotland, also unexpectedly shutting down.

The two power plants supply six per cent of the nation's electricity. The unusual coincidence of both plants closing down caused power cuts across parts of London, Kent, Merseyside and Cheshire.

It is understood that tens of thousands of homes were affected, possibly more.

Power was resumed within two hours. However, National Grid had a further crisis on its hands when a total of nine power stations fell out of action during the afternoon, leading to a shortfall of 400 megawatts of power – one per cent of the country's total daily needs.

As a result National Grid issued its warning, which entailed it taking power from across the country.

"The lights would have dimmed very slightly in a wide range of areas, but hardly anyone would have noticed," said a National Grid spokesman.

Analysts said the shortage of power was symptomatic of under-investment in Britain's energy generation infrastructure.

By Harry Wallop's-worst-power-shortage-in-four-years.html


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Jul 12, 2001
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I did some installation work (router, firewall etc for a new project) last week at a power stn, and the techs there told me they had a scheduled shut-down for supposed to be 4 days last month turned out it was 8 days in the end,
they couldn't get the turbines running after the maintenance.....i am glad i wasn't on-site then.

from the gist of what they were saying many of the power stns have the same or similar problems when they try and get back online.

frightening really, i think sometimes its best not to know