"Human error"causes widespread power outage in Los Angeles
City maintenance workers accidentally cut a power line Monday, sparking a
widespread electrical outage that knocked out the lights in alomost half of Los
Angeles, snarling traffic and trapping dozens of people in elevators.
workers accidentally cut a line at a power receiving station, then connected it
to another line "that was not expecting that amount of electicity," said Ron
Deaton, general manager of the city's Department of Water and Power
That surge triggered power-control systems throughout the electrical
delivery grid to avoid an overload, knocking out service to more than half of
Los Angeles soon after 12:30 p.m..
Power was quickly lost in many areas in
downtown, and south and west Los Angeles.
About 90 percent of affected DWP
customers had power restored by 2 p.m., officials said, adding that there were
no reports of any injuries associated with the outage.
But the power was off
long enough to clog traffic at busy intersections suddenly left without traffic
control, and it stalled business in offices around the city and forced the
closure of all of the city's public libraries.
Power went down momentarily in
at least two terminals at Los Angeles International Airport but no flights or
operations were affected, according to Airport Police.
Ron Myers of the Los
Angeles Fire Department said firefighters responded to several dozen calls of
The outage came one day after a videotape was released
showing an alleged al-Qaida member making threats against Los Angeles.
Angeles Police Department spokesman Paul Vernon said the outage involved 'no
terrorism or foul play."
The LAPD went on a modified tactical alert, which
means business is continuing as usual, but when shifts end, officers have to
call in to see if they are needed somewhere.
He said when the outage first
occurred, police quickly checked out `"critical sites."
LAPD Chief William
Bratton surveyed the city by helicopter during the outage, police said.
officials said they did not know when all the power would be
Stressing that the outage was the result of ``human error,'' DWP
power system head Henry Martinez said that the full restoration would reprobably
in the next couple hours.