Electronic energy and agricultural trading platform IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) was off-line last Thursday — as was its website — for approximately three hours following an “emergency power outage,” according to the Atlanta-based commodity exchange.

“We had a power outage at the primary data center in Chicago,” said Kelly Loeffler, ICE vice president for investor relations and corporate communications. “Once we got the power up, we brought the system back up. It took a little while because we had to make sure that we ascertained the proper cause of the outage. Once we figured that out, we were able to begin restarting the system.”

She added that the outage occurred around 10:30 a.m. EDT and that over-the-counter (OTC) trading was back up at 1:30 p.m. and futures were back and operational at 2 p.m. The outage occurred right around the 10:30 a.m. EDT release of natural gas storage inventories for the week ended May 9.

During the outage the ICE website consisted only of a notice. “There has been a power issue at the ICE Primary Data Center,” the notice read. “As a result, all Futures and OTC [over-the-counter] markets have been closed. All unexecuted active orders in closed markets have been held. ICE technical teams are working to properly restore all systems to a ready state.”

“ICE is totally down,” said a New York broker during Thursday morning trade. “We are hearing that the problem occurred at their operational center in Chicago.” He noted that a trader that needed to make a move could protect themselves by using other platforms. “While New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) and ICE contracts are not fungible, a trader could move over to trade Nymex on the Globex electronic system to at least hedge themselves. If someone is trading WTI crude on ICE and the system goes down, they can flip to Nymex to cover themselves.”

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