Feb 22 2010

Blackout in Lausanne

by at 10:13 pm

View of Pont Bessieres

Jackie had a choir rehearsal today, so she couldn’t come to our biweekly Yiddish class. At around 8pm the power went off in the building briefly, then came back on, and we continued. About half an hour later, the power went off, this time for good. At first we thought maybe it was just the Jewish community center but then we realized it was the whole neighborhood, so everyone packed up to leave. I was at my most helpful and resourceful, thanks to a flashlight app on my cell phone (no joke).

Emergency lights were on in the hallway, and we all made our way out to the street where some street lights were on, but no traffic lights and no lights in any of the buildings. We all looked around and inquired apprehensively about how everyone was planning to get home as my bus (or maybe the technical term is tram—they’re run on electricity) slowly and loudly made its way up the hill. It came to a slow halt, I got on, and it crawled up the rest of the hill powered by some mysteriously loud source of backup energy. At the top of the hill I got off to transfer to another bus. While the traffic lights were still out the information screens for the buses were still working (!), helpfully reporting that my bus was severely delayed. I checked the trains on my phone (which was low on batteries…uh oh), which seemed to be unaffected, and ran back down a different, much steeper hill, to catch a train to Renens.

Now that I’m back I see that, indeed, there is a major power outage affecting parts of Lausanne and the canton of Vaud. But none of the news sources have much to report beyond that:

  • 20 minutes reports some residents heard a déflagration—an explosion
  • tsr reports that the police say people are trapped in elevators.
  • 24 heures quotes several officials. Jean-Yves Pidoux from the industrial services of Lausanne says, «Comment ne pourrais-je pas être au courant de la panne. Je suis resté dans mon bureau pour travailler et j’y suis désormais coincé. La porte fonctionne avec un déclencheur électrique…», roughly “How could I not know of the blackout. I stayed in my office to work and now I’m stuck. The door functions with an electric trigger.” (These electric door release systems are dangerous! One trapped us in our apartment building in Paris last summer.)

Jackie’s on her way home now—the power went out at her rehearsal but then came back on ten minutes later. Interesting…

Update: reports seem to indicate that around 11pm power started to return to some areas, and work continues.

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  1. […] in Lausanne. And MTB season opener. By heccu Eilen Lausannessa oli laaja sähkökatko. Sähköbussit olivat poissa toiminnasta ja kaikki oli pimeänä paitsi kuu (ks. kuva alla, […]

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