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Greece Outage
July 12, 2004

A Month from Games, Major Power Blackout hits Greece
A widespread power outage hit Athens and southern Greece on Monday, cutting off air conditioning as temperatures pushed past 104 and causing traffic chaos in the capital a month before the start of the Olympics. Police were deployed to intersections in the capital city Monday as a massive power outage caused traffic to jam around Athens. Government officials said generators were pressed into service at Olympic venues, but the electrical grid collapse raised serious concerns about Athens' ability to handle increased power demands during the Aug. 13-29 Games. Power gradually started returning to Athens after about 20 minutes. Government officials said electricity would be restored to the entire region during the rest of the day. Greece's power company would not immediately comment about the outage — the biggest to hit Greece in years. The fire department received hundreds of calls about people trapped in elevators. The blackout also created enormous traffic jams from knocked out traffic signals and stalled electric trolleys. Hundreds of passengers on the Athens subway were taken off cars and had to walk to nearby stations.