Police had to tell people to stop calling 999 after a power cut led to 154 emergency calls in just half-an-hour.
It happened after a large part of the city was plunged into darkness at about 2.15am yesterday.
Leicestershire Police said it would normally expect to answer eight 999 calls during a half-hour period at about 2am on a weekday.
About 65,000 homes in Rushey Mead, Stoneygate, Thurnby, Hamilton and Thurmaston lost power for up to 90 minutes.
The police control room was also affected, with 76 calls being transferred to Northamptonshire’s control room because of the outage affecting phone lines. However, most of those that did get through were just people reporting the power cut.
Police told the callers the incident was a matter between them and their power companies.
But, as the calls continued, force control room staff took to Twitter and used their website to urge people to stop ringing.
A statement posted on the force website at 2.45am and also issued via Twitter said: “Leicestershire Police has had numerous calls about a power cut in the east of Leicester this morning.
“The force would ask that members of the public only call if they have a genuine emergency.”
A spokeswoman for the police told the Mercury: “All 999 calls received from people who do not require an emergency service slow down the process of getting police officers to people in dire need of emergency assistance.
“We should all be aware that in making an inappropriate 999 call, you are tying up emergency resources and putting the lives of others at risk.
“999 is for life or death emergencies or a crime in progress. For everything else, you should call your local police on 101.”
Engineers from Western Power Distribution, which now runs the electricity supply network in the region, managed to reroute supplies and get most homes reconnected within half-an-hour, while all power was back on within 90 minutes.
A spokesman for the company apologised for the outage.
He said: “At 2.15am we had a fault in a 132,000 volt cable at a substation in east Leicester.
“About 65,000 properties were affected. 40,000 were restored within half-an-hour and all within an hour-and-a-half.
“We’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
He said the cause of the outage was still under investigation.
Baljit Singh, a Leicester City Council ward member for Evington, was awake when the power cut occurred.
He said he was surprised at the number of people in his street that were also up to experience the outage.
Coun Singh said: “There was a sudden cut in power and the house was plunged in darkness. I saw neighbours coming out with torches to check their cars.
“It caused quite a lot of surprise and a panic.”
Anyone wanting to report power cuts, or find out more information from Western Power Distribution about an incident, can call the company on 0800 056 8090 or 0330 123 5009.
By Leicester Mercury | Posted: October 25, 2013
By Tom Mack