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.
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Workers serve pizza to customers outside of Filippi's Pizza after a massive blackout hit Southern California September 8, 2011 in San Diego, California.
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Downtown is dark after a massive blackout hit Southern California September 8, 2011 in San Diego, California.
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People waited out traffic during the blackout at Downtown Johnny Brown's on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Traffic in downtown San Diego around rush hour during the outage on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Power outages throughout San Diego County as of 9 p.m. Thursday.
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SDFD work on getting the woman out of the elevator on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Traffic backed up due to the blackout across San Diego County on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Traffic downtown after the blackout across San Diego County on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Trolleys around San Diego stopped when the power went out at 3:48 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2011. The MTS said service would be restored sometime Friday, and told passengers to check schedules for buses which would be operating normally.
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Flights were grounded at San Diego International Airport while some arriving flights were diverted to other airports during the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Downtown San Diego during the massive power outage on Sept. 8, 2011.
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As the power outage on Sept. 8, 2011 went into the night, residents in San Diego relied on candlelight.
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A long exposure from the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011 by San Diego resident Andrew DaRe.
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Traffic on 1st Ave. in downtown San Diego right after the blackout at about 4 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Cars were all leaving downtown during the blackout.
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Trolley service was stopped when the power went out on Sept. 8, 2011. Here, a trolley near San Diego State University is stopped on the tracks.
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A Vons grocery store in La Mesa closes because of the power outage. Employees were sent home and grocery carts were lined up to keep people out.
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Claudia Bateman is a resident of The Springs in La Mesa, a low income housing facility for seniors. Air conditioning went out during the blackout, and a generator powered auxiliary lighting. Bateman says she planned to spend the evening sitting by the fire entrance knitting.
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The view of a darkened East County from the top of Mount Helix.
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Shoppers pick up supplies at a 99-cent store during the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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The night sky from University Heights during the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Neighbors and friends took advantage of the blackout to grill food and relax under the stars. Here, neighbors gather in University Heights on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Mike Niggli, the president and chief operating officer of SDG&E, speaks at a press conference during the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Mayor Sanders speaks at a press conference on Sept. 8, 2011 during the blackout that left all of San Diego County, parts of Orange and Imperial Counties, areas in Arizona, and northwest Mexico without power.
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A family sits out on the porch during the San Diego blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Almost the entire city was dark during the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Normal Heights during the San Diego blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Jayne's Gastropub in San Diego is lit by candlelight during the blackout on Sept. 8, 2011.
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Cyclists on the road during the blackout in San Diego on Sept. 8, 2011.
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.
San Diego Blackout Shuts City Down
"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.
Corrected: June 2, 2023 at 8:46 AM PDT
City News Service contributed to the information in this report.