In a real emergency
A report from the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering covers what happened in 2015 in a real emergency in the city of Lancaster which was without electricity for (only?) 24 hours or so, though after-effects carried on for days.
The report has been mentioned a number of times already on comments here at el reg.
I though Raynet got a mention but can't quickly find it; it is mentioned in more recent plans and documents:
"In December 2015, life for more than 100,000 people in Lancaster reverted to a pre-electronics era. A flood at an electricity substation resulted in a blackout over the entire city that lasted for more than 24 hours. Suddenly people realised that, without electricity, there is no internet, no mobile phones, no contactless payment, no lifts and no petrol pumps. Although these dependencies were not difficult to see, few had thought through the implications of losing so many aspects of modern life at once.Three months after the event, Lancaster University brought together representatives from local organisations with policy makers and power system specialists. The conclusions of the workshop are summarised in this report. The failure of the power supply in Lancaster was an important reminder that things will occasionally go wrong and we must learn the lessons from such events.
Over the first weekend in December 2015, Storm Desmond brought unprecedented flooding to North Lancashire and Cumbria, including to parts of central Lancaster. At 10.45pm on Saturday, 5 December, electricity supplies to 61,000 properties in the city were cut. Electricity was progressively restored from 4.30am on Monday but was cut again to most areas at 4pm that evening. 75 large diesel generators were brought into the city and connected to local substations which allowed restoration of supplies over the next few days. By Friday, 11 December, the situation was back to normal.
A workshop was held at Lancaster University on 9 March 2016 bringing together researchers, civil society, business and government. Representatives from 16 bodies affected by the loss of supply, 10 civil servants from different government departments, representatives of research organisations and professional engineering bodies, the police, and members of Lancaster University discussed the impact of the loss of supply on other systems and the community.
The loss of power quickly affected many other services that people take for granted:
* Most mobile phone coverage was lost within an hour.
* Although most landline phone services were available, many people who had replaced their traditional handsets with cordless phones were unable to connect.
* The internet was lost over most of Lancaster and, even where it was available in the street, electricity was not available to supply domestic routers and Wi-Fi hubs.
* Electronic payment systems were unavailable and most ATM machines did not work.
* The local TV booster station lost power, which also affected digital radio (DAB) services.
Households, businesses and transport
* The immediate effects on households were loss of lighting and electrical appliances.
* Most homes in the affected area have gas-fired central heating with the control system and circulating pump reliant on electricity, so had no heating.
* Many homes have all-electric cooking and thus were unable to heat food.
* There are few high-rise buildings in the city but all lost power for their lifts and some upper floors lost water supplies.