Blackout Watch News

System Power Outages – Issue 067 March

By Rannveig Loken, Norway 

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:

Colombo, Sri Lanka had a countrywide power outage due to a system failure, the country’s power monopoly was working to restore power. The cause is not known.

Tennessee, USA – 9 December 2023:   Severe storms and tornadoes in Tennessee left at least six people dead and caused extensive damage. More than 80,000 people were left without power, about half of them were left without power the day after. Emergency crews worked to restore power to the areas hard-hit by the severe storms and tornadoes.

Nairobi, Kenya – 11 December 2023: Kenya’s third nationwide blackout in the past four months disrupted several services, including the main airport in Nairobi, where two terminals were without power for several hours. Power was restored to most of the country by noon the next day, except for some parts of Nairobi and the Coast region. The outage was probably caused by a powerline overload, which then resulted in a failure to the country’s entire power network. It is discussed if scheduled minimal load-shedding will be used as a measure to prevent system collapse during demand spikes in the future.

Cairns, Australia – 13 December 2023Tropical Cyclone Jasper was slowly making landfall around the town of Wujal Wujal, roughly 115 km northeast of Cairns, bringing wind gusts of up to 140 kph, large waves and the risk of life-threatening flash flooding. Authorities upgraded the storm to Category 2. Thousands of people in coastal towns along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef were without power. The cyclone was pounding hundreds of kilometers of northern coastline popular with tourists. 

New York, NY, USA – 15 December 2023: A fault on a high-voltage transmission line led to an explosion at a substation in Brooklyn and a voltage dip across New York City. Its spare transmission equipment lent support and power was restored in a matter of seconds.

United Kingdom – 3 January 2024:  Large parts of England and Wales had heavy rain and strong winds, due to storm Henk – the eighth named storm in only three months. The biggest gust of 81 mph was recorded at Exeter Airport in Devon. Moving from west to east, the storm brought significant disruption to large sections of Wales and England. Power went down in more than 107,000 other homes but has since been restored. Thousands of passengers have seen delays and cancellations on the rail network.

Manila, Philippines – 5 January 2024There was an outage in the Philippine that left millions without electricity for days. The power supply was fully restored in affected areas that included the Panay Island and parts of Western Visayas in the central Philippines. The problem was probably caused by unplanned shutdowns of power generators. 

USA – 13 January 2024:  A winter storm bringing heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions to the Midwest, with dangerous and frigid temperatures expected across the Rockies and Plains. The storms caused more than 7600 flight cancellations, due to winds and blinding snow. Some 150,000 homes and businesses were without power in Michigan. Power was out for another 200,000 customers in Oregon and Wisconsin.

Crimea, Ukraine – 18 January 2024: Parts of Crimea were briefly left without electricity. The blackout was caused by an emergency shutdown of a power plant in Balaklava, which resulted from an interruption of its gas supply. It was not clear what caused the malfunction. 

United Kingdom and Ireland – 22 January 2024:   Storm Isha was the ninth named storm to hit the UK since the season began in September. Power outages affected about 53,000 homes at the height of the storm in Northern Ireland. About 30,000 properties were left without power across England, Wales and Scotland. Many were reconnected to the network over the course of the day. 19,500 homes in north and mid Wales had lost power since the start of the storm. More than 170,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power in Ireland due to storm Isha. Winds of 85mph was recorded on the west coast of Ireland.

United Kingdom – 3 & 24 January 2024: Storm Jocelyn led to widespread disruption in parts of East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, with hundreds of homes experiencing power cuts. Storm Jocelyn became the 10th named storm of the season. Gusts of 115 km/h were recorded at Humber Bridge. Power supplies to about 27,000 customers in the north-east, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire had experienced some disruption. Rail services in the region were also disrupted.

Troms/Bodø, Norway – 1 February 2024Storm Ingunn, the strongest storm so far of the 2023-24 European season, slammed into Norway with hurricane-force winds. The storm sustained winds equivalent to those from a Category 1 hurricane. Flights and ferries were cancelled, alongside closures of schools and other transport, with power cuts across central parts of Norway. About 13,000 without electricity in Nordland and Troms, 3,500 in Troms, 3,700 in Ofoten and 4,000 in Andoya. 18,000 were left in darkness in Trondelag. 

Toronto, Canada2 February 2024A raccoon fiddled with electricity equipment at a downtown Toronto station and cut power for thousands in the local area. The raccoon did not survive the contact. The power outage left about 7,000 people in the dark for nearly 3 hours, knocking out traffic lights and trapping some people in elevators. 

Nyhamna, Norway5 February 2024Processing plant for Norwegian natural gas exports was affected by power outages caused by grid problems during stormy weather. The power line which tripped and caused the outage at Nyhamna had to be repaired.

Los Angeles, CA, USA7 February 2024: Heavy rain from a deadly atmospheric river storm doused California’s Central Coast as it headed for Los Angeles. Storm crews had responded to reports of 475 mudslides and nearly 400 toppled trees within the city. The onslaught of rain, coupled with heavy snow in mountain areas, will go down as one of the wettest storms to hit Southern California in more than 150 years. Some 68,000 homes and businesses in California remained without electricity for a period of time.

Sydney, Australia14 February 2024Hundreds of thousands of residents across Australia’s Victoria state remained without power after wild weather knocked down transmission lines and sparked bushfires that injured five firefighters. The outage impacted half a million properties, one of the largest in Victoria’s history. About 220,000 homes or businesses were still without power on the day after.


Rannveig J. S. Loken – Head of Protection department, Statnett, Norway, Chair for CIGRE SC B5

Received her Master of Science in Electric Power engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in 1992. She works in Statnett, the TSO of Norway, currently Head of Protection department in Statnett. In September 2018, she became Chair of CIGRE SC B5. Her special field of interest is protection and control for the transmission system. In addition, working in Cigre Working groups is of great interest – she is currently a member of WG B5.69. Rannveig is in the Advisory board of PAC world, Committee member of IET DPSP, and Member of the International Advisory Committee APAP. Rannveig is associate editor of the PAC World magazine.