Power cuts plunge London and parts of UK into chaos as businesses and transport grind to a halt

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Commuters are plunged into darkness during rush hour as a widespread power cut hit London, the south east and other parts of the country (GETTY)

A huge outage at the National Grid caused widespread power cuts across the country, causing “apocalyptic” rush hour scenes in major cities such as London and Liverpool.

Britain was plunged into chaos as large parts of the South East, Glasgow, Cardiff and Greater Manchester were all left without electricity.

The outage affected traffic lights, tubes and trains to cut out during the Friday rush hour.

An empty shop in darkness at in London during the power cut which caused "apocalyptic" rush hour chaos (GETTY)

Thousands of homes experienced power cuts after two generators at the National Grid failed.

Around 300,000 UK Power Networks customers were affected in London and the South East.

A train times board is down at London's Clapham Junction - dubbed Britain's busiest station - during the power cut (GETTY)

Western Power Distribution said around 500,000 people were affected in the Midlands, South West and Wales.

A spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid, which serves Yorkshire and the North East, said 110,000 of its customers lost power.

At least 26,000 people were without power in the North West of England, Electricity North West said.

The National Grid now says the problems have been fixed, with power returning to homes shortly at around 6.40pm.

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London bound train networks, including Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express services, are facing delays and cancellations as a result of the rush hour chaos.

Tube passengers were stuck in a tunnel between Oxford Circus and Green Park stations for 25 minutes.

Transport was affected across England and Wales on Friday following the mass power cut (GETTY)

Around 30 sets of traffic lights went down in Glasgow, Scotland, while Newcastle airport Newcastle Airport blacked out as the result of a power cut.

Scott McKenzie, who was travelling through the airport, said: “It was a bit worrying to start - more so because various alarms were going off and staff clearly didn't quite know what was going on either.

“Some of the spaces in the airport have little daylight - we were literally plunged into darkness and people were using their phones as torches to see and get around.”

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: "We currently have BTP officers assisting at several stations owing to current disruption caused by power issues."

National Rail Enquiries, which is run by Britain's train companies, said: "Power supply problems are currently causing disruption to a large number of train services. Information screens in some areas are also affected.

"The UK power network has failed in the large parts of London and the South East.

“This has prevented trains across the Great Northern network and between Farringdon and Bedford from being able to take power and as a result, most trains are currently at a stand."

UK Power Networks tweeted on Friday evening: "We're aware of a power cut affecting large parts of London and South East.

A LNER staff member pushes a trolley of bottled water at Peterborough station, as passengers wait for news during travel disruption on the East Coast mainline (PA)

"We believe this is due to a failure on National Grid's network, which is affecting our customers."

Elsewhere in the country, Cheshire Police tweeted: “We're aware of a power outage in the Ellesmere Port area, including in Great Sutton and Little Sutton.”

“Our call handlers are unable to assist, please contact your electricity provider for advice.”