Over 350,000 without power in Amsterdam area; trains shut down

Massive power outage in Amsterdam, photo shows one block with electricity while the rest of the city is dark, 17 Jan 2017
Massive power outage in Amsterdam, photo shows one block with electricity while the rest of the city is dark, 17 Jan 2017Photo: @TimKlaverweide / Twitter

An early morning power outage in parts of Noord-Holland left hundreds of thousands without electricity and failures on the Dutch rail system on Tuesday. The problem started before 4:45 a.m. causing the lights to go dark in 364,000 households across Amsterdam, Zaandam, Oostzaan and Landsmeer, Dutch utility Liander confirmed on Twitter.

The cause of the outage was not revealed. Workers successfully restored power to 164,000 households by 6:30 a.m. An hour later there were about 88,000 customers without electricity, Liander said.

Meanwhile, there are no trains running in or out of Amsterdam Centraal. Train provider NS said it was not known when the train service would begin again. "This also has consequences for the rest of the country." NS warns. "Unfortunately there is still little information about the course of this disruption. We will keep you informed as much as possible. It is not known how long this situation will last."

The power outage also brought trains around Almere to a standstill. Signaling problems mean that no train traffic is possible, according to Omroep Flevoland. 

A high volume of phone calls meant many had trouble registering their complaints at Liander, but the firm said they were fully at committed to getting electricity to all homes and businesses. According to Liander's website, the disruption is expected to be fixed around 9:00 a.m., though this is just an estimation. "It's hard to say how long it will take. We are now working to turn everyone on step by step", a spokesperson for the utilities company said to broadcaster NOS. 

This power outage means no heating for an undetermined number of people. And with the morning temperatures being around -4 degrees in Amsterdam and surrounds, it could make for a difficult morning.

The Amsterdam police are aware of the power outage, they said on Twitter. "Only call the emergency services in case of an emergency", the police tweeted.