Striking aerial picture shows swathe of west London plunged into darkness by blackout
Police were called to major junctions as the outage knocked out traffic lights with motorists reporting long tailbacks on roads through West Kensington and Fulham.
Baron’s Court and West Kensington tube stations were closed and trains passed through without stopping.
Engineers from UK Power Networks were alerted at just before 8pm and spent two hours working to restore electricity.
They were today trying to establish the cause of the outage, which has been blamed on a fault in high-voltage underground cables.
Residents described “eery” scenes as streets were suddenly plunged into pitch dark.
Engineer John Croft, 52, said: “I got off the bus at West Kensington tube station and it was madness. “There was a huge line of cars stretching back as far as I could see.
“After a while they stopped the buses completely and police had to come and direct traffic to keep things moving.”
Asad Ahmad, owner of a convenience store in North End Road, said: “It was really bad, people didn’t know what was going on. We had to close the shop so we stood outside and sold things on the street.
“We sold out of candles very quickly, we had none left at all. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
A man in his sixties in the Famous Three Kings pub, next to West Kensington Tube, said: “The tube station was closed because there were no lights.
“It was chaos. It’s fortunate there were no accidents on the roads because without traffic lights it was dangerous for pedestrians. Just trying to cross the road was terrible with cars coming from everywhere.”
Dozens of police were rushed onto the streets to “increase reassurance” for residents, Scotland Yard said last night. Hammersmith and Fulham council also deployed wardens in the affected areas.
The Met’s helicopter posted an image on its popular Twitter feed showing a swathe of west London north-west of Earl’s Court plunged into darkness, with the caption: “How do you make an entire London borough vanish?”
While many residents in one of the capital’s wealthiest boroughs told of their anger at enduring a cold, dark evening of “eerie” darkness, others saw the lighter side.
Local MP Greg Hands wrote: “Power cut in my part of Fulham. Time to tell the kids all about life in the 1970s and the danger of another Labour government.”
Jack Layer said: “Powercut in Fulham. I’m very concerned that the Gressingham duck I bought may defrost. Emergency confit may be needed. “
Ben Wiltshire added: “46 minutes into the Fulham powercut and things are desperate, there’s quinoa all over the floor and no-one can find the maid to clean it up.”
And journalist Guy Adams wrote: “There is a power cut here in Fulham. We are cooking fettuccini by the light of some scented candles.”
A spokesman for the UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks would like to apologise to several thousand customers in the Fulham Palace Road area who were affected by a power cut this evening.
“A fault on the high-voltage underground electricity network occurred at 7.48pm. The cause is being investigated but our engineers worked as quickly and as safely as possible on rerouting supplies via other cables. The final supplies were restored at 10.20pm.
“We appreciate how difficult it can be to lose power and apologise for the inconvenience caused by this incident.”