Blackout Watch News

Blackout Watch – Issue 057 September 2021

System Power Outages

Analysis of system power outages can help us learn and avoid similar events in the future. If you have information on any blackouts, please e-mail to:

Munich, Germany (May 21, 2021): A power outage that affected thousands in Munich was blamed on left-wing extremists. It left about 20,000 households dark overnight following a fire early Friday. The fire started at a construction site where roughly 50 power cables run and subsequently knocked out 150 relay stations. Power had been restored to all affected homes by Saturday afternoon.

Queensland, Australia (May 25, 2021): A fire at the Callide C coal-fired power station caused chaos in Queensland’s electricity system leaving about 477,000 homes without power up and down the Australian state’s coastline. The turbine that caught fire and caused mass blackouts had just last year been given an overhaul to ensure it would “operate safely and reliably”. The event immediately forced both units at Callide C offline. That caused such instability that all operating units at Callide B also tripped. The “significant power system event” also tripped multiple transmission lines and forced power stations at Gladstone, Stanwell, Yarwun and Mackay offline, resulting in about 3.1 GW disappearing from the Queensland grid.

San Juan, Puerto Rico (June 10, 2021): A large fire at an electrical substation for Puerto Rico’s new electricity provider, Luma Energy, knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of the island’s residents Thursday.

At the height of the blackout, nearly 800,000 customers were without power, according to Luma. The fire broke out in a transformer at Luma’s Monacillo substation in San Juan, according to the company.

Iraq (July 8, 2021): A widespread power outage hit Iraq on Friday as temperatures reached scorching levels, affecting millions of Iraqis. It was reported that the outage was due to the cutting of a major 400 kV line between Baghdad and the southern province of Babylon. Iraq’s grid was generating just over 4 GW, according to Ministry of Electricity data on Friday morning — significantly less than the 12-17 GW the grid generates on average. By midday, production had climbed to 8 GW. The Electricity Ministry said power transmission lines have been routinely sabotaged by unknown groups in northern Iraq in recent weeks. One 400 kV line from Kirkuk to Qayara was targeted Thursday, the ministry said in a statement. Another 132 kV line was hit in Salahhadin on the same day.

Iran (July 2, 2021): Rolling outages were blamed on the stifling heat, escalating electricity demand and deepening drought that has threatened to snuff out hydroelectric generation. Power demand has peaked at 66 GW, surpassing the country’s practical generating capacity of 65 GW. Companies can actually provide people with even less electricity, closer to 55 GW — in large part because the aging, sanctions-hit electrical infrastructure leaves power plants prone to repeated technical failures.

Dominican Republic (August 12, 2021): A Tropical Storm Fred swept into the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, then weakened to a tropical depression after nightfall while dumping heavy rains that forecasters warned could cause dangerous flooding and mudslides there and in neighboring Haiti. Some 300,000 customers were without power in the Dominican Republic and more than a half million were affected by swollen rivers that forced part of the aqueduct system to shut down.

Detroit, MI, USA (August 12, 2021): Waves of thunderstorms made their way across large swaths of the Midwest, leaving nearly 1 million homes and businesses without power in Michigan at one point.