Barcelona blackout leaves thousands without power

A blackout that struck Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona, today will continue to leave more than 100,000 households and businesses without power for at least another day, authorities said.

A blackout that struck Spain’s second-largest city, Barcelona, today will continue to leave more than 100,000 households and businesses without power for at least another day, authorities said.

A faulty cable triggered a major power cut, snarling traffic, crippling public transport and knocking out electricity.

City officials said at least 30,000 homes would not have electricity until tomorrow morning, and another 80,000 would have to wait even longer, possibly weeks.

The blackout hit around 11am (0900 GMT), affecting traffic lights in the city centre and several underground lines.

Firefighters reported a flood of calls from people stuck in lifts, and police officers were sent to major intersections to direct traffic. The airport, however, was not affected.

At least one major hospital was relying on generator power to light operating rooms, Hospital Clinic i Provincial spokesman Marc de Semir said.

Red Electrica, which manages Spain’s power grid, said more than half the power supply had been restored within four hours. However, 130,000 of around 350,000 customers of electricity operator Fecsa Endesa remained without electricity, Industry Minister Joan Clos said.

City officials said the company was working to fix the problem, but that in the worst case scenario, it could take weeks for some areas to return to normal.

Clos, a former mayor of Barcelona, ruled out sabotage, blaming the blackout on a sub-station cable that fell, causing a chain-reaction failure in as many as six other substations. It also caused a fire in one substation. The reasons for the accident were being investigated.

Meanwhile, authorities doubled the number of police patrolling Barcelona’s streets.

“We need immediate solutions for this emergency,” said the president of Catalonia region, Jose Montilla.

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