The Italian Almanac

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blackout

Italian News - November 6

A German electric company said Sunday a high-voltage transmission line it shut down over a river to let a ship pass could have caused the chain-reaction power outages that left about 10 million people in the dark across Europe.

The blackouts Saturday night briefly halted trains in Germany and trapped dozens of people in elevators in France and Italy. Austria, Belgium and Spain were also affected, though supplies to most regions were quickly restored. No injuries were reported. The outages raised fresh questions about the reliability of Europe's interconnected power grids and drew an immediate call for stronger coordination.

A private German company, E.On AG, said the problems began in northwestern Germany, where its network became overloaded possibly because it shut down the transmission line over the river. The company said it had shut down transmission lines in the past without causing problems, and it was still investigating what happened this time.