Lights out in Southern Calif.

Millions of people lose power in southwestern states

September 8, 2011

About 1.4 million people were without power in a California blackout resulting from a series of events that knocked nuclear power plant offline, officials said.

Officials said power might not be restored until Friday in San Diego County and the surrounding area, after a 500-kilotvolt high-voltage line from Arizona to California went out of service, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The failure was followed by the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The power line and the nuclear plant are the two major sources of electrical service for the region, the newspaper said.

The blackout extended as far east as Arizona, south to Mexico and north to Orange County, Calif.

In addition to numerous flight cancellations, the blackout resulted in the closing of schools and businesses, disabled traffic signals, and in some cases, interruption of water supplies.

San Diego Gas & Electric Chief Operating Officer Mike Niggli said it could take a long time to restore service.

"We want all of our customers being focused on emergency supply plans," he said. "We will do anything we can do get the power supply back as soon as possible here in San Diego."

Niggli said the company had not determined why the power line failed.

Back-up generators provided power for some homes and businesses, including the Union-Tribune, as well as for some government buildings and casinos, the newspaper said.

The blackout occurred just as a heat wave in the region was about to break. Temperatures in the region Friday were 12 degrees above normal.

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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