Glitch at Haifa power station causes brief blackouts nationwide

Israel Electric Corporation fixes problem, with power returning in many locations within minutes; insists it was not a cyberattack, as hacking group claims, but a technical fault

File:  power station in Haifa bay (Photo credit: Shay Levy/Flash 90)
File: power station in Haifa bay (Photo credit: Shay Levy/Flash 90)

A sudden power outage caused blackouts in several regions of the country Thursday, with the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) swiftly saying it had identified the problem as a technical fault in its Haifa power station — and not a cyberattack as a hacker group claimed.

Outages were reported in parts of Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Lod, Rehovot, Tiberias, the Lower Galilee and elsewhere.

Channel 12 news reported that power was also cut off to the Knesset and government ministries, and that these facilities then switched to local backup generators.

In Tel Aviv, police said that malfunctioning traffic lights at the intersection of Begin and Harekevet roads sowed chaos in the center of the city. Drivers were asked to find alternate routes.

After several minutes, power began to gradually return to various areas and the IEC said normal service would quickly be restored across the country.

The IEC explained that the fault had caused an automatic load-shedding system to kick in, which caused the power to drop in some areas.

The IEC said in a statement that the main way to avoid such large-scale outages in such cases in the future was to expand the production of alternatives in the form of renewable energy.

It stressed that the problems were not caused by the hacking of its systems.

A hacker group going by the name “Anonymous Sudan,” which claims to have carried out a spate of recent of attacks on Israeli websites, seized the opportunity to claim that it was behind the power failure.

“Is the darkness beautiful, Israel?” the group wrote on its Telegram channel, according to Hebrew media reports. “Why don’t you have electricity? Did you like the attack? Would you like one on the internet and communications as well? The attack on electricity was just for fun. We will show you more.”

The same group claimed on Wednesday to have hacked a range of Israeli news outlets, government sites and political webpages as the country marked Independence Day.

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