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Power Fully Restored In San Diego County; Schools Closed

— Power was fully restored to San Diego County after electricity was cut to millions due to human error at a power line switching station in Arizona.

Help Us Cover The Story

What Did You Do During The Blackout?

But despite the restoration, public schools will remain shuttered in San Diego County today, along with federal courts, consistent with announcements made Thursday, when SDG&E reported the outage would likely continue one more day. And the utility asked customers to restrict their electricity usage today because the system remains fragile.

The sudden outage plunged the region into chaos as people were stuck in elevators and traffic signals were out at almost all of the intersections in the county, causing major traffic jams. There were no significant reports of injuries due to the outage and no major reports of disturbances.

The major transmission line supplying power to Southern California went down at about 3:38 p.m., leaving the sprawling region without power.

A worker conducting a procedure at an electric switching plant in Central Arizona - where major electricity transmission lines connect - caused a short circuit triggering the outage, officials said. At one point, the power was out as far north as Orange County, south into Mexico and as far east as Phoenix.

The outage was exacerbated when workers tried to reconnect the transmission line and it failed, officials said.

Video

San Diego Blackout Shuts City Down

Above: Traffic backed up on city and county roads as the blackout that started at about 3:38 p.m. continued into the night on Sept. 8, 2011.

"This is an event that has not ever occurred in the system before," said Mike Niggli, CEO of San Diego Gas and Electric, at a news conference late Thursday night. "Unfortunately, it happened...in another state."

After that event, the two units at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station went offline, which severed the electricity connections from the north. That left the entire SDG&E network without any power, leaving all of San Diego County without electricity.

Operating and protection protocols typically would have isolated the resulting outage to the Yuma area. The reason that did not occur in this case will be the focal point of an investigation now under way.

San Diego police Officer David Stafford said downtown's Gaslamp Quarter was particularly busy Thursday night into early this morning as many residents and tourists flocked to bars to pass the time.

There were several burglaries reported around the city throughout the night, but Stafford said early today it was too soon to tell if the outage was the reason.

Authorities issued a statement advising the public that the county had declared a local emergency, meaning that any looting would be treated as a felony.

City News Service contributed to the information in this report.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Xenroner'

Xenroner | September 8, 2011 at 8:43 p.m. ― 3 years ago

SDG&E has spent millions fighting a non utility alternative that world have provided another path for electricity to flow into San Diego and Orange County: the TE/VS Interconnect. Instead of focusing on private competition, they should be focusing on protecting San Diego residents from blackouts like this.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'szqfaraba1'

szqfaraba1 | September 9, 2011 at 2:18 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Point Loma has power back at 1:31 am 9/9/11

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Avatar for user 'genek1953'

genek1953 | September 9, 2011 at 8:41 a.m. ― 3 years ago

The only thing "historic" and "unprecedented" about this blackout was the fact that it hadn't happened here before. This was caused by the same sequence of cascading failures that allowed a single-point failure to black out the entire Northeastern US in 1965, and in nearly 40 years utilities have done nothing to effectively ensure that a single-point failure won't bring down an entire grid even after deregulation allowed them to raise their rates and profits with impunity. If deregulation doesn't make power any more reliable than it was when it was less expensive, we might as well re-regulate it and bring the prices back down.

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Avatar for user 'Paradox'

Paradox | September 9, 2011 at 12:14 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Having witnessed first hand the effects of two great power system failures in this country, I want to know how many times we have to see how brittle (vulnerable) our power grid is before we recognize that this country has a third world power grid and insist it be modernized, hardened and backed up with locally generated power.

This country has not had a national infrastructure program since the interstate highway system that President Eisenhower initiated as a national defense measure.

The Northeast Blackout of 2003, due to a FirstEnergy failure in Ohio, not only affected 55 million people in the U.S. and Ontario, Canada, it brought down the Ontario government, and yesterday's SDGE.failure in Arizona knocked out Baja California, Mexico as well as much of Southern California.

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Avatar for user 'crysharris'

crysharris | September 9, 2011 at 12:15 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Fail to KPBS for not having a generator to broadcast information for the county. KPBS is the first place I went for information on the radio, only to hear static.

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Avatar for user 'genek1953'

genek1953 | September 9, 2011 at 12:24 p.m. ― 3 years ago

crysharris, there's a link at the top of the page for donations. With the House majority in DC out to silence PBS, if we don't click on it, nobody else will.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 11, 2011 at 11:26 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I don't think cancelling was completely justified.

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