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NOS News•today, 13:01•Amended today, 14:34
There will be an independent investigation into yesterday’s major power outage in Flevoland. This has been announced by grid operator Tennet. The consequences of the power outage are still significant. For example, there will be no trains between Lelystad and Dronten until at least 15 September. https://twitter.com/ProRail/status/1566038992977641474.
The power outage occurred yesterday afternoon during work on a high-voltage substation in Lelystad. First there was a short circuit, then a fire broke out. Normally, the power then automatically flows from the cables, but this did not happen. The power lines overheated, started to smoke and in some cases ended up hanging on the ground. Because the safety system did not work, a fire also broke out at a high-voltage substation in Dronten.
At Swifterbant, a high-voltage cable ended up on the overhead lines of the track around 3 p.m. This in turn had consequences for rail manager ProRail. A train came to a stop immediately, the 350 passengers had to be evacuated and continued on by bus.
Huge amount of power
The damage to the overhead wires at Swifterbant and the surrounding area is not easy to solve. “The incident caused an enormous amount of current to flow through our systems in a short period of time. This caused cables and switches to burn out. In both a substation and switching station, there is a lot of damage to equipment,” says ProRail. Initially it was said that no trains would be able to run between Lelystad and Dronten this weekend. Now ProRail says that recovery will take much longer. “It will take weeks,” a spokeswoman said NOS Radio 1 News.
The consequences were not limited to the railway. For example, due to damaged power cables, the A6 motorway between Emmeloord and Lelystad had to be closed temporarily in both directions. That resulted in long queues. A provincial road near Dronten also had to be closed because there was a power cable on the road, which closure lasted until noon today. Private individuals, meanwhile, are complaining about burnt-out hobs, modems and other household appliances.
Images from yesterday show that the wires quickly become hot at the distribution station in Dronten and sag:
Explosions and smoking cables at distribution station in Dronten
It is not yet clear who will conduct the independent investigation, says a Tennet spokesperson at Omroep Flevoland. What is clear is that it will focus on why the power did not automatically go from the cables. “The power grid is constantly being worked on and 99 out of 100 times it goes well,” said Professor of Electrical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology Han Slootweg yesterday.
“Short circuits also occur more often, but just like at home the earth leakage circuit breaker switches everything off in the event of a short circuit, this also happens on a larger scale in such a high-voltage station, and that happens within tenths of a second,” says Slootweg. But that doesn’t seem to have happened this time. A second backup system also failed.
Results of the investigation are expected in a few weeks at the earliest, according to Tennet’s spokesperson.