Obviously, there must be some backup generators somewhere keeping side lights on and emergency exit signs lit. But everything else - computers, lifts, printers, coffee machines, you name it - was completely unusable. I'm just glad the swipe card system on our office doors worked, because I'd have been stuck otherwise!
We had poor people stuck in the lift, people losing work after not saving it recently, and everything at a complete standstill.
Fast forward 2 hours and there's still no power. It began to feel a little like how I imagine the end of the world would be: dark, cold, everyone going into complete panic. Seriously, you'd think it was the end of the world the way some people were acting. I heard rumours that people were crying in the lift or jumping out of windows, I saw everyone milling about on the ground floor, some wearing high visibility jackets. I almost expected someone to tell me evacuate the building.
Fast forward another half an hour, and it was decided that the building was actually going to be evacuated. We had no computers so there was no way we could do work, so the only option was to go home. Yay for me!
It did make me realise how much I rely on electricity. though. Every time I got bored I'd reach over to the computer, only to remember that that was the reason why I was bored in the first place. I kept forgetting how many things actually use electricity - I tried the hand dryer twice before it registered in my brain, and I also tried the button for the automatic doors. The worst was climbing four flights of stairs!
I think it took about 5 hours to get to the source of the problem and get the power back on, after which time I still don't know what the actual cause was. Whatever happened, it managed to create widespread panic, office standstill, and gave me a glimpse into how everyone would act if the apocalypse actually happened.