Large parts of England and Wales are without electricity following a major power cut, electricity network operators have said, with an immediate impact being reported on rail and road services, including traffic lights.
Social media messages from companies covering London, the south-east, the Midlands, the south-west and Wales reported power cuts which were said to be caused by a National Grid failure. The outage was reportedly affecting traffic lights and rail services.
UK Power Networks tweeted on Friday evening: “We’re aware of a power cut affecting large parts of London and South East. We believe this is due to a failure on National Grid’s network, which is affecting our customers.”
Western Power Distribution (WPD), the electricity distribution network operator for the Midlands, south-west and Wales, said there was a “major incident”.
A Transport for London spokeswoman said some traffic lights were not working but the scale of the problem was not yet known. Police officers could be called in to “manage the busy junctions, to physically manage them themselves”, she said. “We’re just assessing how many traffic signals are out.”
It said on Twitter: “We are currently experiencing a major incident on the national electricity infrastructure. We are in the process of restoring customers now and will provide further updates as soon as possible for specific areas. We are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing.”
Train services in and out of London, including Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express, were facing delays and cancellations. National Rail said that “a large number” of train services had been affected.
There were problems in the capital with traffic lights and the Victoria Line on the London Underground was suspended, Transport for London confirmed.
Members of the public posted images on social media showing the impact of the power outage, with one passenger publishing a video showing people climbing a set of steps in darkness at Clapham Junction.
TfL warned people via Twitter to be cautious when using the roads.
There were power outages reported at Newcastle airport and in Cheshire, police tweeted they were aware of an outage in the Ellesmere Port area, including in Little Sutton and Great Sutton.
A Network Rail spokeswoman said a power surge on the National Grid meant power was lost to all signalling over a wide area, including Newport, Gloucester, Ashford, Bristol, Eastbourne, Hastings, Three Bridges and Exeter.
“All trains were stopped while our back-up signalling system started up,” she said. “While most of our signalling system has come back online and trains are running, there will be delays to journeys in these areas.”
People were urged to check their journey details before travelling.