Cost estimate of San Diego outage tops $100 million - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Cost estimate of San Diego outage tops $100 million

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Good Samaritan Dave Eminhizer directs traffic at the intersection of Rancho Bernardo Road and Bernardo Center Drive during a power outage on Thursday Sept. 8, 2011, in San Diego. Good Samaritan Dave Eminhizer directs traffic at the intersection of Rancho Bernardo Road and Bernardo Center Drive during a power outage on Thursday Sept. 8, 2011, in San Diego.
Hugo Camacho, left, and his son Daniel Camacho, 5, emerge from a 7-11 with Gatorade and Cheetos late Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in San Diego. Hugo Camacho, left, and his son Daniel Camacho, 5, emerge from a 7-11 with Gatorade and Cheetos late Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in San Diego.
A stranded passenger sleeps in the baggage claim area at San Diego's Lindbergh Field after a blackout Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. A power outage is affecting millions of people across southern California, Arizona and Mexico. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) A stranded passenger sleeps in the baggage claim area at San Diego's Lindbergh Field after a blackout Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. A power outage is affecting millions of people across southern California, Arizona and Mexico. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
People talk around candles in front of the bar Voyeur in the Gaslamp District during a power outage Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in San Diego. People talk around candles in front of the bar Voyeur in the Gaslamp District during a power outage Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - SDG&E says power has been fully restored to San Diego County Friday. (Read below for more).

Flights: 41 flights that were scheduled to leave before 7 am. have been canceled.  Other flights were delayed for at least one hour.  All other flights should be departing at their scheduled time.  Check your airline to make sure your flight is running on time.

Courts: San Diego Superior Court will conduct business as usual on Friday. Employees and jurors should attend as planned.

Trash: Trash pickup will happen Friday as usual.

Water Safety: Several areas have recommended precautionary boil water orders:
Otay Mesa, Redwood Village, Tierrasanta, San Carlos, La Jolla, Bernardo Heights, Scripps Ranch
 
Refrigerated Food: HHSA's Dr. Wooten says food in the freezer should be ok for 2 days if it's full; 1 day if it's 1/2 full. Best rule with is when in doubt, throw it out!!

Schools: San Diego County public schools, any preschools and daycares are all closed Friday, September 9, 2011. All public, private, and Catholic schools in the county are closed.

Transportation:
 North County buses, North County Sprinter, MTS busses and Amtrak will all be running tomorrow. MTS and Trolley will be on regular schedules.
 
Military bases: MCAS Miramar and the Navy say personnel should plan to arrive at work as scheduled.

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(Updated @ 5:45 pm - 9/9/11)

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A think tank estimates that a widespread power outage cost the San Diego-area economy more than $100 million.

The National University System Institute for Policy Research said Friday businesses lost about $70 million, largely because they had to close. Some employees missed work because San Diego schools were closed.

Overtime for government workers cost up to $20 million. The cost of spoiled food amounted to up to $18 million.

Altogether, the think tank estimates the total loss at between $97 million and $118 million.

The city of San Diego hasn't given any estimate of its own.

 

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. The previous story is below.

 

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Residents in parts of the county were advised Friday to boil their water or use bottled water following a historic power outage which left some 5 million people from Mexico to southern Orange County without power until early Friday morning.

The affected areas include parts of the College area and College Grove, Carmel Mountain Ranch, North City/Flower Hill, Otay Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, San Carlos, Scripps Ranch, Stonebridge, Tierrasanta, and La Jolla, west of Interstate 5 and north of La Jolla Parkway. Residents in these areas should use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking or cooking, the city's Mayor Jerry Sanders announced in a news conference.

The boil water order will remain until further notice and a information line was set up for residents at (619) 515-3525, Sanders said.

The massive outage also caused two of the city's sewer pump stations to shut down, causing spills, Sanders said. About 1.9 million gallons of sewage spilled into the Penasquitos Lagoon after one of the pump stations failed and about 125,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Sweetwater Channel.

Signs have been posted warning people to stay out of the water in both areas and the order will remain in effect until the area has two days of clear water.

The outage struck about 3:40 p.m. Thursday and power was restored to San Diego County by about 3:30 this morning, San Diego Gas and Electric reported, but officials asked customers to continue conserving electricity today as a precaution. Residents were encouraged to avoid the use of air conditioners if possible, or set them no lower 78 degrees if structural cooling was absolutely necessary. Major appliances should not be used today.

"Our system is still fragile, even though we have all of our customers back in service. Not all our power plants are operating today, some of them took a pretty tough hit when the lights went out yesterday," said SDG&E President Michael Niggli. One of those effected was the San Onofre nuclear plant, where two reactors shut down although the plant did not lose power or

experience safety issues.

Several agencies will participate in a joint investigation to determine the cause of the power failure, Niggli said, noting the short-circuit was initiated by an operator error on a high-voltage power in the North Gila-region line between Arizona and Southern California.

"The question now is how did that ripple through the rest of the system," Niggli said.

In seeking to determine what caused the system breakdown, the agencies will coordinate with the Department of Energy and other federal agencies, the California ISO, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, California and Arizona state regulators and companies involved to monitor the situation, officials said.

During the outage, schools and businesses -- including gas stations -- closed; commuters jammed roadways; medically fragile people packed hospitals; and several people throughout the county were rescued after being trapped in elevators and on trolley cars.

The National University System Institute for Policy Research estimated the economic impact of the outage to be between $97 million and $118 million.

 

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(Updated @ 8:24 pm - 9/8/11)

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Power is slowly coming back online for some people in California, but most of the 2 million who lost electricity across the Southwest will remain in the dark through the night.

Mike Niggli, chief operating officer of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. says they are starting to restore power to the system. Parts of Orange County are back online.

The outage extended from southern parts of Orange County to San Diego to Yuma, Arizona. It also affected cities south of the border across much of the state of northern Baja.

Niggli urged people to be patient and asked those who have power to use only the most necessary appliances and turn off their air conditioners to prevent another shutdown.

(Updated @ 8:14 pm - 9/8/11)

SAN DIEGO (AP) - An employee at a power substation in southwest Arizona likely caused a massive outage that left more than 2 million people without electricity across the Southwest and northern Mexico.

Power officials in Arizona said the employee was carrying out a procedure at a substation in North Gila northeast of Yuma. They didn't immediately explain the procedure.

Authorities say the outage should have been limited to the Yuma area. They were investigating why it wasn't contained.

Most of San Diego lost power, as well as cities south of the border and about 56,000 people throughout Yuma and the surrounding areas.

Arizona Power Services President and CEO Don Robinson say they are working to restore power as soon as possible.

(Updated @ 8:14 pm - 9/8/11)

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The penguins, polar bears and walruses at San Diego's SeaWorld will be staying cool during an outage that has affected millions of people in Southern California, Arizona and Mexico.

SeaWorld spokeswoman Kelly Terry says the amusement park that allows visitors to see marine life up close runs on its own generators.

Park-goers were allowed to stay after power was lost at around 3:30 p.m. They were treated to a special performance by Shamu in the early evening.

Terry says some park-goers who thought they didn't have enough gas to drive home were allowed to hang out in SeaWorld's parking lot to wait out traffic.

At Legoland, spokeswoman Julie Estrada says a few riders were trapped after rides lost power, but were safely removed.

THIS IS A NEWS UPDATE. A previous story is below.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A major power outage knocked out electricity to more than 2 million people in California, Arizona and Mexico on Thursday, bringing San Diego and Tijuana to a standstill and leaving people sweltering in the late-summer heat in the surrounding desert.

Two nuclear reactors were offline after losing electricity, but officials said there was no danger to the public or workers. FBI officials ruled out terrorism while power plant authorities struggled to find the cause of the outage that started shortly before 4 p.m. PDT.

San Diego bore the brunt of the blackout; most of the nation's eighth-largest city was darkened. All outgoing flights from San Diego's Lindbergh Field were grounded and police stations were using generators to accept emergency calls across the area.

The trolley system that shuttles thousands of commuters every day was shut down and freeways were clogged at rush hour. Trains were stopped in Los Angeles, an Amtrak ! spokesman said, because there was no power to run the lights, gates, bells and traffic control signals.

Police directed traffic at intersections where signals stopped working.

In Tijuana, people wandered out of their hot homes into the street to cool off while restaurants scrambled for ice to save perishable food.

The outage extended from southern parts of Orange County to San Diego to Yuma, Arizona. It also affected cities south of the border across much of the state of northern Baja. Border officials said crossings into California are open.

"It feels like you're in an oven and you can't escape," said Rosa Maria Gonzales, a spokeswoman with the Imperial Irrigation District in California's sizzling eastern desert. She said it was about 115 degrees when the power went out for about 150,000 of its customers.

In San Diego, Blake Albert Jordan, 20, saw a trolley come to a screeching halt as he neared the platform. Dozens of passengers emptied onto ! the tracks when the doors opened.

Jordan said he called about 20 friends and family to pick him up in San Diego's Mission Valley, where he was visiting a friend, to his home in suburban Lemon Grove. None offered to venture on the roads.

A transmitter line between Arizona and California was severed, said Mike Niggli, chief operating officer of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., causing the outage. The extreme heat in some areas also may have caused some problems with the lines.

"Essentially we have two connections from the rest of the world: One of from the north and one is to the east. Both connections are severed," Niggli said.

Power officials don't know what severed the line.

Niggli said he suspects the system was "overwhelmed by too many outages in too many places."

Niggli said relief was on its way, slowly. He said his 1.4 million customers may be without power until Friday.

Two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant went offline at 3:38 p.m. as they are programmed to do when there is a dist! urbance in the power grid, said Charles Coleman, a spokesman from Southern California Edison. He said there was no danger to the public or to workers there.

The outage came more than eight years after a more severe black out in 2003 darkened a large swath of the Northeast and Midwest. More than 50 million people were affected in that outage.

In Arizona, about half of Yuma County had power again Thursday evening after losing it earlier. Yuma County has about 200,000 residents and a little under half live in the city of Yuma.

"It's 113 degrees right now outside," said Yuma city spokesman Greg Hyland, who was sitting in the dark, answering calls.

Five hundred to 2,000 SoCal Edison customers in southern Orange County and Riverside County are currently without power and there is no estimate for when power will be restored, Coleman said.

Capt. Mike Stone of the Orange County Fire Authority said several people were trapped and rescued at the tony Ritz! Carlton hotel in south Orange County, Stone said.

In southern O range County, the sheriff's department dispatched deputies to busy intersections because traffic lights were out, said John McDonald, a sheriff's spokesman. Outages were confirmed in San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Hills, he said.

Traffic was backed up in some areas, and the Orange County Register reported that fire crews were dealing with numerous calls of people being trapped in elevators.

THIS IS A NEWS UPDATE. A previous story is below.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A massive power outage left as many as 1.4 million customers without power Thursday, including many areas throughout San Diego County, and reaching as far as Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico. SDG&E was looking into the issue, and service was not expected to be fully restored until sometime Friday.

Thousands of customers reported a disruption in power from areas as far north as Fallbrook, Escondido and San Marcos, northeast to Temecula and reaching as far south as Ensenada, Mexico. There were also reports of power outages in Arizona and New Mexico.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, SDG&E president Michael Niggli said the problem was a system breakdown that originated somewhere between California and Arizona. He confirmed areas affected include all of San Diego and parts of Orange County, Imperial Valley and Tijuana. Crews were working to get the affected power plants online.

The power outage has affected an estimated 1.4 million customers. The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, issued a transmission emergency notice for the San Diego area.

According to a News 8 live report, operations at Lindbergh Field were at a standstill. SDPD officers were doing traffic control at several intersections throughout the city after traffic signals failed. Trolley service was disrupted, with reports of several cars being stranded on tracks.

The San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park museums have closed, and business at the Hall of Justice was halted. San Diego State University has canceled classes.

San Diego Fire-Rescue is advising people to stay home, and not to call 911 unless there is an emergency. People are also asked to activate your emergency preparedness plan if you have one.

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UPDATE @ 6:15PM: California ISO statement

"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 wide-spread 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."

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UPDATE @ 5:39PM: Emergency Coaster Schedule

The North County Transit District is running an emergency schedule for commuters:

-- Northbound from Santa Fe Depot (Downtown San Diego) to Oceanside @ 7:03 PM (the 6:21 PM departure has been cancelled)

Rail riders are being advised that AMTRAK service is available, but they only make three stops: Santa Fe Depot, Sorrento Mesa and Oceanside.

NCTD will be running an additional "sweep train" later Thursday evening for passengers stranded along the Coaster's service route. A time has not been released.

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