Power outage strikes San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A massive power outage that originated in Arizona knocked out power to 1.4 million San Diego Gas & Electric customers from Mexico to southern Orange County today, and some could be without electricity into tomorrow.

According to SDGE, the outage originated in Arizona and caused both of its major electrical connections to the region to trip off. In addition to knocking out power to much of San Diego County, the outage also affected people in Mexico, Baja California, the Coachella Valley in Riverside County and southern Orange County.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, issued a statement blaming the outage on the failure of a high-voltage power line between Arizona and Southern California, causing an outage for all SDG&E customers and affecting some other utilities.

“The outage was triggered after a 500-kilovolt (kV) high-voltage line from Arizona to California tripped out of service. The transmission outage cut the flow of imported power into the most southern portion of California, resulting in wide-spread outages in the region,” according to Cal ISO.

“The ISO is coordinating with SDG&E as well as neighboring utilities including Southern California (Edison) and utilities in Arizona and Mexico, during restoration of service, which is being managed by SDG&E.”

SDGE had no estimate on when power would be restored, but said some of its customers likely would not have electricity until tomorrow.

Power was being restored in parts of Clairemont, Mission Valley and Miramar around 10:15 p.m., parts of Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, Encinitas and National City around 10:30 p.m. and La Mesa, North Park, Mt. Helix, Hillcrest, Spring Valley, Lemon Grove and Mission Hills around 10:45 p.m., according to San Diego Gas & Electric., according to San Diego Gas & Electric.

The Arizona power company APS said the outage appears to be related to a procedure an employee was carrying out in the North Gila substation, located northeast of Yuma, Ariz.

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 the investigation, which is underway.

The outage caused a virtual shutdown at Lindbergh Field, where only a handful of Southwest Airlines flights were being permitted to take off, and only because they were carrying only pass-through passengers, according to airport spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield.

Other than those flights, there had been no other outbound planes from the airport since the power went out since passengers could not be properly screened. Most inbound flights were being either canceled or diverted to other airports, she said.

San Diego State University canceled classes tonight due to the outage. University officials said it was still unclear if classes would resume tomorrow, and updates would be posted on its website.

The power went out around 3:30 p.m. at the courthouse in downtown San Diego, which was closed a short time later.

San Diego police Officer David Stafford said there had been no serious traffic tie-ups reported.

“We don't have any major incidents,” he said, noting that officers were working at major intersections to provide traffic control.

Categories: KUSI