Officials begin attempting to restore power in San Diego amid blackout
"The restoration of SDG&E’s electric transmission system is underway. However, all power to our customer is still out," the utility said in a statement on Twitter.
More than 1.4 million people in a large swath of Southern California and beyond as a blackout brought normal life to a halt.
The Southern California blackout was triggered after a 500-kilovolt high-voltage line from Arizona to California tripped out of service, officials said Thursday afternoon.
The transmission outage severed the flow of imported power into areas of Southern California, according to the California Independent System Operator, known as ISO, which oversees the state's electrical grid.
Officials at ISO said they were working with utilities in Southern California, Arizona and Mexico to restore power. Officials said the blackouts could last for hours.
The widespread outages have darkened homes and stores and caused massive traffic jams across Southern California.
The Orange County Fire Authority reported an increase in accidents as drivers navigated streets without working traffic signals.
Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Mark Stone said officials were still trying to get an exact count but said there had been "numerous" traffic accidents after the blackout.
Some people were rescued from amusement parks and elevators.
No outbound flights are leaving San Diego International Airport due to the massive power outage.
Diane Hollister, a volunteer "ambassador" at San Diego International Airport’s Terminal 2, said she was scrambling to help find hotel rooms for the several dozen travelers left stranded when the airport shut down its runways because of the blackout.
Offices across downtown San Diego let workers go early. But they face severe gridlock on local streets.
“We’re completely shut down,” she said.
— Robert J. Lopez and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Workers stand in a darkened lobby of a building after a massive blackout hit Southern California. Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images