13:16, PDT: I'm receiving reports of widespread power outages across Los Angeles, along with building evacuations. Nothing on the news lines yet. Stay tuned.
13:32, PDT: Drudge links to a brief news bite about the outages. Radio sources indicate that some major power distribution lines were damaged, possibly by LADWP employees. That's exactly what I'd expect to hear if the real cause is terrorism. No word from the LADWP yet.
A major portion of Los Angeles lost power Monday afternoon. Outages were reported from downtown to the San Fernando Valley.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power did not immediately have an explanation for what happened.
Reports are that traffic is [more] snarled throughout the city, with all stop-lights out of commission.
13:36, PDT: Drudge headline says:
Department of Water and Power does not know cause of mass outage... LAPD put on tactical alert... Developing...
13:39, PDT: Just got a report that power is back on. Clayton Cramer emails to say that there are serious solar storms at the moment that could affect power generation and distribution.
13:51, PDT: The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) has a system status page that forecasts electricity generation and usage. No real news there though.
Drudge headline now: "Dept of water and power snapped a power line; grid jolted..."
I find it hard to believe that the system is so fragile that a single point of failure could cause such widespread outages.
14:12, PDT: Reuters is reporting that for LAPD to be on a "full tactical alert" means that:
"The city is on a tactical alert and obviously traffic is going to be impacted," Los Angeles Police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said.
Maiberger described a tactical alert as "what happens when the city goes into a state of emergency. Police officers will only be responding to calls where there is a threat to life."
Hopefully no one will take that as a license to start looting.
It's unclear whether or not power is back on. Two of my sources said yes, but I don't see reports of restored power from internet news sites yet.
14:22, PDT: Some Bear Flag League members are still without power. Gary Aminoff in 90067 and the Pirate in 90017 (downtown) have no power or are on backup.
Citizen Smash has a power outage round-up with some quotes and a few links.
14:42, PDT: NBC channel 4 has a power outage map of the affected areas.
14:51, PDT: Reports are that 90% of Los Angeles has power again. Only Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were affected; Southern California Edison customers didn't lose power. LADWP avoided the power outages from a couple of years ago and avoided being shafted by Enron because LADWP is still highly regulated, unlike the somewhat-deregulated power companies throughout the rest of the state. This time, they were hit while everyone else escaped unscathed.
Boi from Troy reports what he observed downtown.
15:09, PDT: LADWP employees connected the wrong wires together. Don't cross the streams! At least we didn't experience total protonic reversal... try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
15:38, PDT: The loss of power led to loss of refining capacity, which led to a 7-cent per gallon price jump for gasoline. Hm.
17:13, PDT: South Bay residents are advised to stay indoors while local refineries burn off excess gas they couldn't move while the power was out.
23:47, PDT: My final report on the matter... details about why the power went out.
The power outage that affected more than 2 million people in and around Los Angeles on Monday was triggered by an unlikely source: A utility crew installing a system upgrade.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers cut several cables incorrectly, slicing the thin wires as a group, rather than one at a time, said Ed Miller, director of Power System Operations and Maintenance for the department. That triggered a short and tripped circuit breakers. ...
Cutting power quickly when these sorts of problems happen "is the correct thing to do," said Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of Independent Energy Producers, a Sacramento-based trade association that represents power plants.
"If you don't do that, you end up with what happened in the Northeast," he said, referring to the nation's worst blackout in August 2003. "It starts jumping into other regions and control areas and then you have big problems."