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"Human error"causes widespread power outage in Los Angeles
13/9/2005 15:48

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.
The 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 (DWP).
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 stuck elevators.
The outage came one day after a videotape was released showing an alleged al-Qaida member making threats against Los Angeles.
Los 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.
DWP officials said they did not know when all the power would be restored.
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.

Xinhua News