×

Power outage rolls across Europe

More than 10 million people were left in the dark after a power shortage in Germany triggered blackouts across western Europe late Saturday night.

The incident halted trains, trapped people in elevators and plunged millions of homes into darkness in parts of Germany and France, which suffered most of the power cuts, as well as in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Croatia, Spain and even Morocco. TV stations and most movie theaters, however, emerged unscathed as they switched to emergency power supplies.

The power went down in more than a million homes in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Hesse shortly after 10 p.m. German time.

The electricity supply to most regions was restored about half an hour after the outages, and no injuries were reported.

Cinemaxx, one of Germany’s leading exhibs, suffered only minor problems due to the blackout, while main rival CineStar was unaffected.

Only one Cinemaxx multiplex in the city of Muelheim in North Rhine-Westphalia went dark due to the power failure. Although the theater was back in operation within the hour, many moviegoers who had been watching pics like “Borat” and local comedy hit “7 Dwarves — The Wood Is Not Enough” declined to wait and opted instead for free tickets for later shows.

CineStar, on the other hand, suffered no problems at any of its cinemas due to technical safeguards against power cuts.

“The projection equipment is very sensitive so we have to make sure it’s protected against possible power shortages and other similar problems,” said CineStar spokesman Thomas Schulz.

TV stations continued to broadcast throughout the power cuts. A spokesperson for ProSiebenSat 1 confirmed that its channels are protected against such power outages. Neither ARD nor ZDF were affected. Even RTL in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, was unaffected by the cut.

German energy company E.On said the problems began in northwestern Germany, where its network became overloaded, possibly because it shut down a high-voltage transmission line over the Ems River to let a cruise ship pass safely. E.On said it had shut down transmission lines in the past without causing problems, and was still trying to discover what happened this time. The shortage caused substations across Europe to shut down automatically to prevent further damage.

In France, about 5 million people, including many in Paris, were left without electricity for up to an hour. The power outage, however, had little affect on TV stations and theater chains. The only large theater that reported a problem was La Dupleix in the northern city of Roubaix, where 500 spectators were left in the dark for half an hour. The electricity came back on after about 30 minutes and the films resumed.

One legit theater in Paris, Mogador, had to stop its perf of the musical version of “Bagdad Café” and offered auds a free ticket for another night.

The blackout affected Italy relatively marginally, with power outages lasting between a few minutes and up to half an hour in parts of the Piedmont, Liguria and Puglia regions.

Damages in Italy were limited by emergency measures put in place after a massive 18-hour blackout in September 2003 that left almost 56 million Italians without electricity for as long as 18 hours.

In Spain, power outages in parts of Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia, Andalucia and Castille-La Mancha had only a limited effect.

(Liza Klaussmann in Paris, Nick Vivarelli in Rome and John Hopewell in Madrid contributed to this report.)

More Biz

  • Issa Rae Interview Variety

    Issa Rae’s Raedio Partners With Kobalt for Global Publishing Deal

    Kobalt today announced a worldwide publishing deal with Emmy-nominated actor-producer-writer Issa Rae’s company, Raedio Publishing, LLC. The global partnership with Raedio includes creative and administration services, which includes providing guidance and funding on new Raedio signings, pitch Raedio’s writers, artists and library for synchronization opportunities and provide admin services, according to the announcement. Rae has [...]

  • Pharrell Williams movie musical

    Pharrell, Michele Anthony, Jody Gerson, Jon Platt Join Rock Hall of Fame Foundation Board

    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in New York today announced five new members who have joined their Board of Directors: Michele Anthony (Executive Vice President Universal Music Group); Jody Gerson (Chairman & CEO Universal Music Publishing); Pam Kaufman (President ViacomCBS Consumer Products); Jon Platt (Chairman & CEO SONY/ATV Music Publishing); and artist/producer/entrepreneur [...]

  • Dish Network

    Dish Narrows TV Subscriber Loss in Q4 but Drops Sling TV Customers For the First Time

    Dish Network continued to feel the cord-cutting sting in the fourth quarter of 2019: While its total subscriber losses in the period were not as bad as the year earlier, the company dropped 94,000 Sling TV over-the-top customers — the first time its OTT service lost subscribers since launching in 2015. Dish’s net pay-TV subscribers [...]

  • Deutsche Telekom

    Deutsche Telekom, RTL Join Quake Europe to Boost 5G Startups (EXCLUSIVE)

    U.S. venture capital firm Quake Capital is partnering with German telco giant Deutsche Telekom and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland on a new technology accelerator program focused on 5G immersive entertainment. Based in Cologne, Quake Europe will target seed-level investments in early stage consumer-focused 5G tech ventures in Europe. Deutsche Telekom tech incubator Hubraum is serving as [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Jury Ends First Day of Deliberation With No Verdict

    The jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial has ended the first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. The jury got the case on Tuesday morning after a six-week trial, in which six women took the stand to accuse the disgraced producer of sexual assault. Weinstein faces five counts, including two counts of predatory sexual [...]

  • CDBaby logo

    CD Baby Is Shutting Down Its Retail Store

    As if the name “CD Baby” weren’t already an anachronism, the independent distributor announced late last week that it is shutting down its retail store, although it will continue to distribute physical product through other channels. “CD Baby’s mission is to help artists monetize and promote their music in the best ways possible,” a message [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content