COUNCIL offices had to be evacuated after a power cut which left more than 400 homes without electricity tripped their security system.
Electricity North West said a high voltage cable fault meant that houses across Bolton lost power from 6.26pm last night.
A spokesman said 451 homes across the town lost power completely, while most had it restored by about 7.55pm, although the problem was not totally resolved until 11.51pm.
The power surge led to security systems at Bolton Town Hall, Paderborn House and the Wellsprings failing, and while the town hall was safe as a back-up battery generator took affect, security was temporarily compromised at the other two buildings.
The issues have now been resolved but a council spokesman said it is still experiencing a high volume of calls after fixing problems with its Access Bolton phone lines and urged the public to be patient.
This meant anyone could have gained access until staff secured the buildings after being made aware of the problem, evacuating council workers and staff of The Bolton News at 7.30pm.
The council has now resolved the residual problems with its phone lines, as well as issues with lifts in council buildings, but warned residents that they are currently experiencing a high volume of calls.
The general power to all buildings was not affected, but some street lights in Bolton town centre were seen to have failed while nearby shops also lost power.
A council spokesman said: “There was a power cut in Bolton town centre last night.
“Although this has been fixed by Electricity North West, some of our systems were still affected this morning.
“Our phone lines are up and running again. We are experiencing a high volume of calls so we would ask members of the public to please bear with us.
"Otherwise we are encouraging them to use our website – www.bolton.gov.uk – or wait until later."
An Electricity North West spokesman said: “There was a high voltage power failure in Bolton last night, which left a large amount of people without power.
“The cabling that takes power between towns was affected which is why such a large area lost power.
“The fault was completely fixed by 11.51pm.”