A MAJOR probe has been launched after thousands of homes were plunged into darkness last night as a power cut swept Portsmouth.
The blackout affected 50,000 people and happened shortly before 9pm this evening.
Many residents were left without power for 40 minutes, while some waited almost an hour for electricity to be restored.
Engineers from Scottish and Southern Electric (SSE) Network are investigating the cause of the outage, which is understood to have come from a fault at a ‘primary substation’.
A spokesman for the electricity firm said: ‘There was a fault at a primary substation which left 50,000 people across the Portsmouth area without power.
‘We don’t know the cause of the fault – it is being investigated. Our main priority was to get power back.’
Residents across Portsmouth reported seeing a ‘bright blue flash’ or ‘explosion’ light up the night sky moments before the power went off.
Dave Hartley said: ‘Walking outside around Purbrook and saw a huge flash of blue light behind houses for a few seconds.’
Another witness added: ‘There was a huge blue flash and then the power all went out.’
SSE could not confirm before The News went to press whether or not an explosion had taken place at the city’s primary substation.
‘This will be part of our investigation,’ the spokesman said..
The blackout is the latest in a string of power issues to blight the city. Last week, Portsmouth City Council boss Gerald Vernon-Jackson hit out and said: ‘Southern Electric has a duty to make sure that they can provide electricity to people. People depend on it.
‘If Southern Electric can't guarantee it then perhaps the city needs a new supplier.'