September 9th, 2011
09:13 AM ET

Massive power outage eases as attention turns to cause

A massive power outage that left millions in the dark across portions of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico eased early Friday, with the power back to all 3.5 million residents of San Diego who had gone without electricity for hours.

The outage was not related to terrorism, officials said. It may have begun with work at an Arizona power plant that provides some electricity to California customers.

At its peak, more than 5 million people in California were without power, along with others in Arizona and portions of Mexico. It was unclear how many people remained without power early Friday.

California officials urged residents to conserve power all day in an effort to protect what San Diego Gas & Electric Co. Vice President David Geier called a "fragile" power system.

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Filed under: Arizona • California • U.S.
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. raven

    It was me . I was using my blow dryer, curling iron and stereo all at the same time. Sorry guys .

    September 9, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. RUFFNUTT (ELF SLAYER & PURPLE KUSH SMOKER , )

    i knew it...!!!!
    .
    i was going to say china hackers...

    September 9, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. JohnnyCat the Utility Worker Cat

    There was an proposed experiment back in June by FERC to allow the UTILITY FREQUENCY CONTROL to freely fluctuate without controls with the proviso caution about massive blackouts as an unintended effect. It was part of the Smart Grid talk of mid-July 2011. Just before the ~3pm on Sept 8 failure in San Diego area, the grid utility frequency "jumped" and spiked beyond the normal tolerance, not too far, just enough to make us wonder if that worker for SD G&P had altered the AGC which effected the Load Balance enough to cause this (very huge) problem. Or, He was replacing equipment where the redundant channel was not tested and it failed on the hand-off. Boy we need to get to the bottom of this. I think Utilities would be reluctant to experiment live without NERC and FERC oversights. Please tell me they did not try this free-float nonsense on thier own. A Las Vegas Utility Tech is reporting a fast-clock situation in that city, and this means that the 60 Hertz frequency is (or was) fast or high. Several Engineers are watching PUFrequency at near 60.1 Hz, far beyond the +/- 0.025 maximums on drift tolerance. This is the symptom. Our Power Networks have grown faster than current Infrastructure can support; this is worse than Terrorism but has the same effect: system neglect. The VP of SanDiego G&P used the terminology "fragile".

    September 9, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Hehe.. PUFrequency.. Once, sometimes twice a day. Depends if chili is involved or not..

      September 9, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. JohnnyCat the Utility Worker Cat

    Ok my bach channel says the Worker made a mistake . I understand , I made a mistake like this in 1998 on a training simulation, and had top re-take an internal course. I retract my earlier statement , its not neglect nor experiments, this was a bad human mistake, and the SuperVisor will also get a black checkmark too. Its not the cause of fragile technology.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. justathought

    How did SD jump from 1.4 million to 3.5 million?

    September 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      I think it was 1.4 million households, 3.5 million people..

      September 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dr. Anthony Hayward

    EET WUZ BECAZ WE WAS DREELING OFF DA COOST OV MEKSYCO GOLF TEW MAKE MOAR OYL SPEELS! SORRY GAIS! WE NEEDS LOTS OF ELEKTYSYTEE TO DREEL DEEPEST TO SPEEL MOAR OYLS!

    September 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |