Bermuda experienced a widespread power outage since Friday evening which impacted the island’s internet and phone service availability.
Deeming it a “serious incident” at Bermuda’s sole power supplier, the government advised customers to “unplug all sensitive electrical equipment” as crews worked around the clock on restoration efforts.
Located in the western North Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is a self-governing British Overseas Territory with a population of about 64,000.
Power down: Bermuda unplugged
In the early evening hours of Friday, BELCO, Bermuda’s sole electricity provider said it was working to restore power amid a “mass-outage” affecting the island.
Bermuda’s government acknowledged the “serious incident” at the power supplier and issued further guidance.
(1/2) The Government has been advised that there has been a serious incident at Belco, which has resulted in an island-wide power outage.
Belco is currently working to restore power.
— Bermuda Government (@BdaGovernment) February 3, 2023
“The Minister of National Security Michael Weeks has been kept abreast of progress,” further states the announcement.
“Currently all government offices are closed and the public is encouraged to unplug sensitive equipment. Updates will be made available via the Emergency Broadcast [Station] at 100.1 FM.”
Power surges that often follow a power cut can be damaging to voltage-sensitive devices like laptop computers, mobile phones, medical equipment, etc.
The government requested the residents to keep roadways clear and to refrain from calling 955, BELCO’s line for reporting power outages.
Outage hits internet and phones
Reports suggest the massive power outage across the British Overseas Territory also hit much of the region’s internet connectivity with some customers additionally losing their telephone connection.
Internet monitoring organization NetBlocks confirmed hours following the power cut that the internet connectivity across the luxury island was down to about 30% of its normal levels. Cloudflare Radar further observed a noticeable dip in the region’s internet traffic.
Confirmed: A major power outage has knocked out internet connectivity across much of #Bermuda; real-time network data show national connectivity down to ~30% of ordinary levels; incident comes amid reports of a serious incident at Belco pic.twitter.com/azBbqNfqUh
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 3, 2023
BELCO’s outage map last reported 4,464 customers being out of power. By Friday, 8:30 PM (Bermuda time), the company had restored power for about 90% of its customers, with all circuits coming back up by 9:45 PM. Customers who remain without power may now call 955.
By approximately 11:00 PM, Cloudflare Radar observed internet traffic levels gradually returning to normal.
“First and foremost is the safety of our staff and the public. I’m pleased to report that all of our staff are safe and accounted for,” BELCO President Wayne Caines said in a statement.
The cause of this widespread but mysterious incident remains yet to be learned.
“I sincerely apologise to our customers for the [inconvenience] caused by today’s outage. We will be carrying out a root cause analysis on today’s outage and will report on the outcome in due course. Let me thank our staff at BELCO who acted quickly and professionally to ensure that power was restored as quickly and safely as possible.”
BELCO’s last major island-wide power outage occurred in December 2020.