A Brief History of Power Outages

SGX isn't the only bourse to have juice issues.

It's only a matter of time before those furry communists strike again.

It's been a fairly unfortunate week for the good men and women of the Singapore Exchange.

Trading on Singapore Exchange (SGX) was interrupted for two hours on November 5 by a series of events that culminated in a loss of power, and a failure of its unfortunately named uninterruptible power supply system to active a backup. The bourse has now initiated a full review to find out what happened.

It's rather a lot of egg on the face for Singapore, which is presumably also initiating a review of its systems naming policies, but it's not the first time that electricity has caused an issue for major markets. Some of the larger fubars are listed below.

2012, New York ─ While clearly not the only reason, power outages nonetheless played a part in the decision to keep the New York Stock Exchange closed for several days during Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, the longest shutdown since the 19th Century.

2008, Chicago ─ An outage in the data center operations of Intercontinental Exchange caused commodity trading on ICE's market to be halted for a morning in May. The exchange operator, which now owns the NYSE, had consolidated its data center operations in London and Atlanta to Chicago the previous year.

2005, Moscow ─ A widespread power outage in Russia's capital city caused Micex to cease operations for a few hours. Power at the bourse was actually still in operation, but unfortunately for Russia's markets that day, nobody else could turn on the lights, necessitating a pause while it was sorted out.

1999, Chicago ─ An outage in the Chicago Loop meant that three out of four primary generators went down, and the Chicago Board of Options Trading was asked to cut back on its usage by the city, leading to an early termination of the trading day.

1994, New York ─ Al-Qaeda in the Hundred-Acre Wood strikes again, with another kamikaze rodent chewing through another power line, shutting down the operations of the exchange once more.

1989, Toronto ─ This time it wasn't rogue wildlife chewing on cables, but the sun that caused computers in the Toronto Stock Exchange to shut down. Coronal mass ejections, or solar flares, were blamed for the electromagnetic activity this time.

1987, Connecticut ─ Not long after a severe crash, nature decided to put the boot in to Nasdaq by dispatching its most effective operatives ─ the gray squirrels ─ to chew through a key wire and touch off a power failure at the exchange.

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