Brocker.Org: Power outage cripples San Francisco for seven hrs – Reuters


By Alexandria Sage and Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO A enormous electricity outage threw San Francisco into chaos for most of the work working day on Friday, knocking out targeted traffic alerts, paralyzing enterprises and halting the city’s famed cable autos.

The electricity outage, which was induced by a fire in a PG&E Corp. utility substation, disrupted San Francisco’s normally bustling economical district, residence to banking institutions and technological know-how firms.

The blackout started out just just after 9 a.m. (midday ET/1600 GMT) and at one place impacted almost 90,000 shoppers, according to PG&E. The result in of the fire was a circuit breaker failure at the substation, PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty reported.

Office environment employees not able to entry elevators or use their keycards spilled out on to the sidewalks, some wandering the streets in look for of an open up cafe or sunny place to get pleasure from a scarce heat San Francisco working day.

Many others simply went residence, with very long strains forming for ferries. For numerous, there was minor to do but wait.

“When I got below we experienced to shut down all the servers, all the work stations were being off-line,” reported Bard Wood, an info technological know-how employee in the economical district. “I’m certain we have missing millions of pounds currently. There is certainly no enterprise down below correct now.”

Some cable car operators snoozed just after their autos stalled on the street rails.

Targeted visitors was snarled and emergency employees responded to twenty elevator rescues, according to the city’s fire department, but there were being no claimed deaths or major injuries. But numerous enterprises, from coffee retailers to major banking institutions, took a hit.

Wells Fargo & Co closed 13 bank branches and four business structures, although the New York Stock Trade reported its ARCA possibilities investing flooring in San Francisco was briefly unavailable. Staff members in Goldman Sachs’ economical district business were being sent residence.

King Lip, chief investment decision officer at Baker Avenue Asset Management, reported his agency was in the middle of a trade when “all our techniques went down.” He reported personnel in a further state experienced to entire the transaction.

Two business structures and a nearby branch of 1st Republic Financial institution were being shut down, a signal on the branch’s doorway apologizing for the sudden closure.

Fourteen neighborhoods were being impacted, like the most important shopping district around Union Sq., the place merchants turned signals to “closed” and major retailers this sort of as Macy’s and Louis Vuitton shut their doorways.

In a metropolis proud of its technological prowess, the outage pressured citizens back to the darkish ages. At the salad bar MIXT, cashiers took credit card payments employing previous-fashioned paper imprints.

“Previous school,” commented patron Ben Fackler. “I have not seen that in without end.”


For much more than two hrs, trains barreled by means of the Montgomery Avenue station – one of the busiest stops that providers the downtown and economical district – as the outage prevented them from halting right until backup turbines came on line, Bay Space Quick Transit spokesman Jim Allison reported.

Power was last but not least restored to all shoppers by 6 pm nearby time, PG&E reported.

“Staff have entered the substation. They are evaluating the damage and setting up to make repairs,” Doherty reported.

San Francisco International Airport remained operational, and a U.S. Office of Homeland Security spokesperson reported there was no evidence of terrorism. The spokesperson requested anonymity, citing department coverage.

“This experienced nothing to do with cyber,” reported Joe Weiss, an specialist on regulate procedure cyber safety who has testified to Congress about structural weaknesses in grid components.

“The authentic dilemma is how could one substation take out, properly, San Francisco?”

An FBI spokesman reported the agency monitored the incident but is not investigating.

20-one San Francisco educational facilities missing electricity, but remained open up nonetheless, according to a Office of Emergency spokesman. At the very least three hospitals experienced to rely on backup turbines, canceling elective surgical procedures and redirecting emergency clients to other amenities.

Joanna Gadd, fifty five, was in the admitting space of the city’s Saint Francis Memorial Healthcare facility ready for her daughter to go through operation when the lights went out.

The diagnostic operation was canceled. She experienced forfeited a vacation to the United Kingdom, like airfare, to accommodate the procedure.

“It is irritating,” Gadd reported. “It is really fairly nerve-racking heading into operation. She experienced been fasting, and fasting for an individual with diabetes is absolutely no picnic.”

(More reporting by Jeffrey Dastin, David Ingram, Joe Menn, Robin Respaut, Peter Henderson and Liana Baker in San Francisco, Rodrigo Campos in New York, Tom James in Seattle and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles Writing by Dan Whitcomb and Heather Somerville Modifying by Mary Milliken)