Massive power outage hits Florida

Other News Materials 27 February 2008 01:29 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity across Florida Tuesday after eight power plants went offline, authorities said.

Between 600,000 and 800,000 households had no electricity at the height of the crisis Tuesday afternoon, though power was slowly being restored, Karen Vissepo of Florida Power and Light told broadcaster CNN. Media reports said the outage could have affected as many as 4 million people.

The outage affected traffic lights, Miami's International Airport, air conditioning units and trapped people in elevators. Authorities said some kind of grid disturbance likely caused the power plants to shut down - sparking rolling blackouts - but could not yet give an exact cause of the problem.

At least two nuclear power plants were involved, though it was unclear if the power plants themselves went offline first or if the shutdown was triggered by a problem on the grid.

Much of the outage was restricted to southern Florida, though the Miami Herald reported that electricity was out as far north as Jacksonville.

Mayor Carlos Alvarez of Miami-Dade County said in a news conference that the problem was "technical," not criminal, and that power would be restored "within the next couple of hours."