On Tuesday 6th November, Newcastle was hit by a city-wide power cut. The loss of power, which hit areas in the city centre, Jesmond, Spital Tongues, Fenham and Elswick left many houses and businesses without power. The blackout occurred around 5pm, with street lights and road signals also affected, causing Northumbria Police to issue a warning to motorists and pedestrians.
The power cut, which followed one the previous weekend which hit the BALTIC and parts of Walker, also caused an impact at Newcastle University. During the time of the blackout, NUTV were filming an episode of their Student Voice current affairs program which required filming to be cut short. The Courier encountered issues as the blackout caused the computers editors were working on to shut off, causing slight loss of work. Station Manager Harry Parsons, also present during the outage and witnessed dashing off out of the Courier and into Newcastle Student Radio, reported that the station was forced off air, saying “each time the power went off our server would crash, meaning we had to reset all the equipment. The city was without its student radio station for a whole 20 minutes that evening. Goodness knows how they coped.”
Over at the Robinson Library, the power loss caused frustration and panic for students working. Second year psychology student Tara Worthington told the Courier, “I was in the Robbo and all the computer screens suddenly went black and went off! There were a lot of confused faces, they came back on a few seconds after but others it took a lot longer. I was waiting for about 5 minutes.” Ally Cloke, English Literature Stage 2, was also in the Library: “I was working in the Robbo on the computers on the 2nd floor when suddenly the power went out. The weirdest part was the shared moment of frustration between everyone, in a place where you normally try not to ever make eye contact with anyone.”
Newcastle University’s backup generators prevented too much loss of work, with power coming back on in the Students’ Union seconds later. A spokesperson for the Royal Victoria Infirmary told the Chronicle that the hospital was not affected significantly beyond two small power cuts, and the Metro network was unaffected.
The Northern Powergrid, which was inundated with almost 100 calls during the outage, have not disclosed the reason behind the blackout.