Massive power cut hits Saint Petersburg: official

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A massive power cut hit Russia's second city Saint Petersburg Friday, turning off lights and stranding public transport in the city centre, officials said.

Lights went out on the city's famous Nevsky Prospekt, one of the longest city streets in the world, and trolleybuses halted in the middle of the road and traffic lights went off as the electricity cut.

Spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry, Irina Andrianova, told NTV television that the power cut had hit four areas of the city, including the Nevsky region in the historic centre.

She said that according to initial information, the power cut had been caused by a breakdown at a power sub-station, triggering a similar problem at another.

The Interfax news agency quoted a source as saying the breakdown had been caused by a technical problem with equipment.

The lights also went out in metro stations and delays for an unspecified period were being announced, the Interfax and NTV television channel said. Residents reported that several metro stations were closed.

However its international airport, Pulkovo, was working normally. Interfax said that the police presence in the city had been increased.

Power cuts still occur in some Russian cities due to antiquated equipment but such a breakdown on this scale in one of its main urban centres his highly unusual.

Saint Petersburg -- the former imperial capital founded by Peter the Great famed worldwide for its classical architecture -- is currently in its peak tourist season.

© 2010 AFP

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