Power Outage Hits London Apple Store

LONDON -- The Regent Street Apple Store in London was without power for a little more than three hours Thursday after a series of rolling blackouts hit part of central London.

Power went out at the store 10 minutes before it was set to open at 10:00 AM local time and wasnit restored until earlier afternoon, customers told TMO. As crowds formed outside its large glass doors, store management decided to open the store in the dark, with only iPods and laptops operational for customers to play with.

Support staff formed a makeshift Genius Bar on the first floor of the London store to help customers as best as they could without power, fulfilling standing Genius Bar appointments. As for selling products, checkout counter employees were selling products by hand with the help of sunlight coming through store windows with no computers and no accurate way to verify credit card purchases. Power reportedly was restored between 1 and 2:00 PM, local time.

The scene was reminiscent of the opening of Appleis SoHo store in New York City after a blackout in August of 2003 that left some 800,000 people in the Big Apple without power and struck simultaneously across dozens of cities in the eastern United States and Canada. Then, the SoHo store opened for business, despite having no power or lights.

Appleis power outage was just part of a wider power shortage in Londonis West End. UK power company EDF told the BBC that a series of rolling blackouts and other shortages was caused by four equipment failures exacerbated by unseasonably hot weather and the accompanying higher demand for air conditioning.