Major power cut in York hits traffic lights, the station – and thousands of homes and businesses

Blossom Street, York, in the darkness. Photograph: David Dunning / Minster FM
3 Dec 2018 @ 4.16 pm
| News

More than 5,000 premises in York were hit by a major power outage on Monday (December 3).

It happened after a cable was damaged at a construction site at about 3pm.

Many traffic signals were also out, causing problems on the city roads.

York Railway Station was seriously affected. For about three hours no trains were calling at York.

Passengers were evacuated from York railway station and asked to wait at the nearby Principal hotel. Power at York’s LNER offices was also down.

At 6pm, Northern Powergrid said it had restored power to more than 4,000 customers. The remaining 960 were reconnected in the early hours of Tuesday.

The disruption on the railways lasted till about 7pm. Traffic lights gradually got back online across the city centre after 6pm.

Council offices evacuated

Alex at Premier Stores by Holgate Bridge stayed open with shopping by candlelight but strictly cash only. Photograph: David Dunning / Minster FM
Non-essential workers at City of York Council were evacuated from its West Offices HQ which was also hit by the outage. Monday’s council meetings were cancelled.

The National Railway Museum had to close, and cancelled an award ceremony tonight for volunteers. It reopened on Tuesday

The power cut happened when workers cut through an underground cable on the Hudson Quarter site, where Hudson House used to be, close to the station.

It caused a loud explosion and a small fire. Firefighters from York and Huntington were called out at 3.04pm.

When they arrived the fire was out. Crews helped make the site safe.

‘Doing everything possible’

A Northern Powergrid spokeswoman confirmed that just after 3pm on Monday a power cut affected around 5,050 customers in the YO1, YO10, YO17, YO23, YO24, YO26, YO30, YO31 and YO90 postcode areas of York after another company inadvertently damaged an underground electricity cable.

At 6pm she said:

  • We’ve successfully restored power to around 4,064 customers by switching supplies from an alternative part of our network.

    Our teams are working to restore power to the remaining customers as quickly as possible however extensive excavations and repairs are required to restore power to the 960 properties still affected as a result of another company inadvertently damaging our network.

    Power is expected to be restored for our customers by around 4am tomorrow morning.

    We’d like to reassure our customers that we are doing everything possible to safely get the lights back on as quickly as possible.

    We are keeping those affected updated on social media and by text as well as through our online power cut map at northernpowergrid.com and 24 hour contact centre.

Blossom Street as the lights came back on. Photograph: David Dunning / Minster FM
Chris Nicholson was working nearby when the power cut happened. He told YorkMix: “Just heard a bang loud enough to knock a fair chunk of power out then the small fire that has been reported.

“Rendered our work building pretty useless for the rest of the day, so went home.”

City of York Council update

At 5pm Neil Ferris, City of York Council’s Corporate Director of Economy and Place, sent out this statement:

“An electrical power cut is currently affecting 3,500 properties in central York, as well as West Offices.

“The area affected is from Tadcaster Road/The Mount in the south, down towards the river in the north, across to the railway station and Leeman Road in the west and towards Nunnery Lane in the east.

“West Offices has been closed and all non-essential services and meetings are cancelled. We closed the contact centre at 4:30pm due to low emergency power levels and the safety of those in the building.

“Transport is affected both in terms of street lights, some traffic lights being out and the station is closed. The council’s operation services and depot are not affected.

“Residents and business visitors are asked to check www.york.gov.uk before setting off to West Offices tomorrow. All existing emergency telephone lines remain open.

“We will issue updates on the situation at www.york.gov.uk/poweroutage.”