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Sydney powerless in third blackout

Sydney was hit by a power blackout for the third time in a month yesterday, forcing offices to switch on generators, trapping people in lifts and disabling traffic lights in another embarrassment for Australia's biggest city.

A cable failure cut power to about 30,000 homes and businesses, or about a third of all customers in Sydney's central business district, for about 30 minutes in late morning, said a spokeswoman for utility EnergyAustralia.

Trading on the Australian stock exchange was unaffected and trains kept running.

"It's alarming that this has happened on more than one occasion in the past month," Max Predebon, a 30-year-old fund manager, said as he was about to cross a road at a set of failed traffic lights in the financial district. "It clearly has an impact on business and I'd like to see the government being more proactive and improving the infrastructure."

At the end of last month, a blackout brought chaos to the city, causing traffic jams and leaving dozens of workers stranded in lifts.

Days later, a second blackout cut power to 50,000 customers for about an hour, stopping 50 sets of traffic lights and closing a road tunnel under Sydney Harbour.


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