Pictures taken at the scene showed the eerie darkness throughout the mall, with the only small flickers of light emitting from people’s smartphones and from the flashlights of staff members.
In a statement on its official Twitter page just past 8pm, Dubai Mall noted that it is “working with the authorities to address tonight’s situation”.
“We regret the inconvenience caused and appreciate your patience,” the mall added.
The Dubai Media Office, for its part, tweeted just before 8pm that “Dubai Mall (is) experiencing a power outage, concerned authorities are working to restore power in a few minutes”.
Additionally, a video taken by a shopper in the mall – and retweeted by Dubai Media Office – showed mall visitors quietly going about their business, with no sign of panic evident. Other social media users noted that mall staff were advised to remain calm.
A shopper at the Dubai Mall said that he was shopping on the second floor when suddenly the lights went off.
“This was the first time ever I saw something like this happen here at the mall. People switched on their mobile lights to guide themselves outside the shops,” he said. “Although the mall went pitch dark with a couple of emergency exit lights here and there and the rest of the light coming from people’s mobile phones that they held like torches, there was no pandemonium. The corridors were full as hordes of people slipped out of the pitch dark shops towards the jammed escalators. We all quietly walked down the escalator guided by our mobile lights.”
“Everyone seemed to hasten towards the exit but there was no chaos. Security guards calmly guided people coming out of the mall towards the parking lots,” he added. “I left immediately as I anticipated some rush as anyway it was peak office hour. But the power cut was not resolved at least for the 10-12 minutes I was in the mall.”
On social media, there were mixed reactions to the blackout.
“Why is everyone so surprised? Anything man made is subjected to have problems,” one man noted.
Others, however, noted that they had not received any instructions from mall staff or authorities.
“Power still out, almost an hour now,” one man tweeted. “No announcements from security or management.”
Others claimed that mall staff were preventing people from leaving, although that could not be independently confirmed
Many people, however, responded with good humour to the darkness.
“Dubai Mall in power outage,” Andy Rohrer, a British tourist, tweeted. “Still letting people in, so weird. On the plus side, might get discount at the ice cream shop?”
“Who didn’t do the needful and pay the DEWA bill?,” another user jokingly asked.
Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, and Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), rushed to the mall where they supervised and helped resolve the problem.
A statement from Dewa said that the power outage in Dubai Mall this evening was caused by the transfer of high-voltage cables from the Dubai Mall substation. During the transfer, the outage occurred, because one line went out of service. Dewa’s technicians have fully restored power to normal service. The supply of electricity and water in the rest of the area was not affected.