Power restored in San Diego County after historic blackout; water safe for consumption in Fallbrook, Rainbow districts
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Issue 36, Volume 15.
But despite the restoration, public elementary, middle and high schools will remain shuttered in San Diego County today, along with federal courts, consistent with announcements made yesterday (Sept. 8), when SDG&E reported the outage would likely continue one more day. County courts, however, will be open today, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
SDG&E asked customers to restrict their electricity usage throughout the day today because the system remains fragile.
The unprecedented outage struck around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. About 3:30 a.m. today, San Diego Gas & Electric reported that all power in San Diego County had been restored. However, sources in downtown San Diego (East Village) reported their power resumed at approximately 6:30 a.m.
The outage affected homes and businesses in San Diego, Orange, and Imperial counties, parts of Arizona and Baja California.
It shut down the two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant but the facility did not lose power or experience safety issues, according to its operator.
During the outage, schools and businesses -- including gas stations -- closed; commuters jammed roadways; the medically fragile packed hospitals; and at least two sewage pumps failed, contaminating a lagoon and a river that feeds into San Diego Bay.
There were several reports of people stuck in elevators and on San Diego Trolley cars, and Lindbergh Field virtually shut down for a time.
Following safety checks completed overnight, North County Transit District officials announced that normal Coaster and Sprinter service would resume this morning. But there could additional isolated outages through the day, SDG&E reported.
Although power is back on, SDG&E has encouraged residents to conserve electricity today, saying the system remains "fragile." Residents were encouraged to avoid the use of air conditioners. If an air conditioner must be used, it should be set at no lower than 78 degrees, utility officials say. Major appliances, such as washer and dryers, should not be used today, according to SDG&E.
The utility set up a phone number for customers to call if they experience further outages. The number is (800) 411-SDGE.
The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, blamed the outage on the failure of a high-voltage power line between Arizona and Southern California, saying it affected all SDG&E customers and the customers of other utilities as well.
"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 widespread outages in the region," according to Cal ISO.
The Arizona power company APS said the outage appears to have been
related to a procedure an employee was carrying out in the North Gila substation northeast of Yuma.
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.
Both Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District have reported there is no need for customers to boil water before consumption in this area; that safety measures remained intact.
(previous story, Fri. Sept. 9, 2011, 7 a.m.)
San Diego Gas & Electric restores power; calls for energy conservation
Village News Staff
Gridlock traffic leading in and out of Fallbrook was experienced by drivers yesterday after the power outage which started in Yuma, Arizona. Mission Rd. and Reche Rd., as well as the other major arteries, were bumper to bumper as people were trying to leave town or get home. The 15 freeway was also gridlocked as people tried to get home and/or were trying to leave town. Gas stations in Temecula had long lines as people from San Diego County sought stations that were open. Camp Pendleton was without power as was the rest of the county and beyond.
At the Mobile station at I-15 and Pala Road, cars were parked outside, pulled over in the park-and-ride and alongside Hwy 395 as they ran out of gas, or sought a safe place to pull over knowing they would not make it home and needed friends and family to bring them gas. Gas stations all over town, including the Mobile station, had yellow tape keeping cars out of the gas station.
As the power was shut off some traffic lights were dark, some were blinking red, and some were stuck in their green or red position, such as the one at Reche Rd. and Gird Rd. At the Reche Rd. traffic light, unknowing drivers sped through the light stuck on green. Drivers stuck in the red position on Gird Rd. had to "take their chances" as they pulled out into the intersection between speeding cars coming around the corner near Live Oak Park Rd.
Schools are closed for Friday, although power has been restored. Schools have personnel outside to greet anyone who may not have heard of the closures.
Fallbrook Hospital was fully operational as generators powered the hospital and the emergency room was open all night.
The Fallbrook Sheriff's station had power and was operational. Sheriffs deputies were patrolling downtown throughout the night.
People who are at home with respiratory equipment had visits from companies like Pulmocare who were out visiting hundreds of their clients to give them additional back-up batteries to keep their equipment running, according to one of the Pulmocare drivers, "Ed", who was filling up his Pulmocare van with gas at the AM/PM on Front Street and South 79 before heading to San Diego County.
Many people found they were not prepared for an emergency situation with flashlights, radios operated by battery, bottled water, candles, etc. Other residents decided to barbecue and have impromptu block parties with their neighbors.
SDGE is calling for conservation throughout the day. There is some relief expected with temps in the mid 80s expected for the Fallbrook/Bonsall area. There may be isolated outages that persist throughout the county. If customers are experiencing an interruption in electric service, they should all SDG&E at 1-800-411-SDGE (7343).
SDG&E is asking customers to: set air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher; use fans rather than air conditioning; keep windows, door and fireplace dampers closed when using an air conditioner; turn off the air conditioner when leaving the house; draw blinds and drapes to keep the sun out during the warmer parts of the day and open windows at night and during the cool of the day.
San Diego Gas & Electric Restores Power; Calls For Energy Conservation
SAN DIEGO - Sept. 9, 2011-4 am -- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today restored power at 3:25 a.m. to its 1.4 million customers affected by the Sept. 8 outage. The restoration was accomplished almost exactly 12 hours after a major electric transmission system outage in western Arizona tripped the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station offline and other factors resulted in the most widespread power outage in the company's history, according to David Geier, VP of operations for SDGE.
On Thursday afternoon and throughout the night SDG&E coordinated its restoration efforts with the organization in charge of California’s power grid, the California Independent Operator (Cal-ISO). Early this morning, in cooperation with the Cal-ISO, SDG&E completed the power restoration process. Because the restoration process went smoothly, SDG&E was able to restore power sooner than anticipated.
SDG&E thanks its customers for their patience and local public agencies, including local municipalities, for their support and cooperation.
"Restoring power in the aftermath of the loss of the entire local grid serving San Diego and southern Orange counties was a monumental task and the Cal-ISO, the region’s power plant managers and our employees really rose to the challenge," said David Geier, vice president of electric operations. "The restoration process, however, has left our local power grid very fragile and we are asking our customers to conserve electricity throughout the day Friday."
SDG&E and the Cal-ISO are focusing their efforts over the next few days on maintaining and ensuring the integrity of the local power system. Upon meeting that goal, the company will turn its attention toward determining the sequence of events that led to the outage and establishing practices and procedures to ensure that outages such as the Sept. 8 event are not repeated.
There may be isolated outages that persist. If customers are experiencing an interruption in electric service, they should all SDG&E at 1-800-411-SDGE (7343).
The Cal-ISO and SDG&E have called for energy conservation throughout the day Friday. SDG&E is asking customers to: set air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher; use fans rather than air conditioning; keep windows, door and fireplace dampers closed when using an air conditioner; turn off the air conditioner when leaving the house; draw blinds and drapes to keep the sun out during the warmer parts of the day and open windows at night and during the cool of the day.
The power outage began with a major transmission outage in western Arizona that caused a loss of power to southern California. Shortly afterward, the San Onofre Generating Station went off line. As a result, SDG&E did not have adequate resources on its system to keep power on across its service territory.
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
SDG&E system restoration in progress after countywide power outage
Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Escondido, Otay Mesa, Oceanside and Carlsbad residents had their power turned on at approximately 1
Several residents throughout San Diego County had their electricity turned on after a massive power outage that impacted the 1.4 million San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and several Southern California Edison customers throughout San Diego County, southern Orange County, Riverside County and Baja California. Camp Pendleton officials have also reported that the base is also facing the same power outages as the rest of the county.
According to the SDG&E Twitter feed, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Escondido, Otay Mesa, Oceanside and Carlsbad residents had their power turned on at approximately 10 p.m., with residents in Jamul and Ramona having their power restored at approximately 9:20 p.m., according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Twitter feed. Though system restoration has begun, the process had to be done in stages.
Throughout the outage, 911 operations were up and running, with police throughout the county on double staff. Fire rescue was also fully staffed. Fallbrook Hospital is currently running on backup generators, and is fully functioning.
According to Arizona Public Service (APS), the North Gila – Hassayampa 500 kV transmission line near Yuma, Ariz., tripped off line resulting in a major power outage across southwest Arizona and into Southern California at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) stated that it was 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.
San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders asked San Diego County residents to stay off the roadways as much as possible, as traffic lights were also impacted by the outage. Gridlock quickly became a problem throughout the county. North county residents commuted to Temecula for gas, causing long lines and traffic at area gas stations.
According to SDG&E, customers can prepare for power restoration by leaving one light on so they will know when the power is restored. In addition, customers should also unplug sensitive equipment like microwaves, computers and televisions. In addition, customers are asked to conserve water and energy. SDG&E officials also ask that residents turn off their air conditions to avoid power surges.
The San Diego County office of Education announced that all county schools would be closed on Friday, Sept. 9 and be re-opened Monday. Area universities were also affected, with classes cancelled. Power on streets would still be out on Sept. 9, and SDG&E asked that children be kept off the streets.
FPUD is requesting that residents restrict water use to essential indoor use only.
previous story follows
Power Outage Reported throughout San Diego, Riverside, Orange County, Baja California and Arizona
1.4 million SDG&E customers affected by power outage.
The California Independent System Operator has issued the following statement regarding the power outages affecting Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties:
The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) issued a transmission emergency after a major system disturbance occurred between Arizona and Southern California and caused all of San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and a small portion of Southern California Edison customers to lose power.
"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 widespread outages in the region.
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.'
The San Diego County office of Education says all county schools will be closed tomorrow, Friday and open Monday.
previous story follows
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. Residents in Yuma, Arizona and Mexicali, along with residents of Mission Viejo, are reporting power outages as well.
Camp Pendleton officials have also reported that the base is also facing the same power outages as the rest of the county.
Official reports state that a problem occurred with two major electrical sources, although SDGE officials said the recent hot weather meant there was a lot of strain on the system, and that could have contributed to the problem.
The utility had no estimate on when power would be restored, but said some of its customers likely would not have electricity until tomorrow.
The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, issued a transmission emergency notice for the San Diego area. The electrical sources are currently being troubleshooted to see what caused the problem.
San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders is asking San Diego County residents to please stay off the roadways as much as possible, as traffic lights are also being impacted by the outage. Gridlock is quickly becoming a problem throughout the county.
Watch this site as more information becomes available.
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