At 3:42 PM PDT yesterday afternoon, the power went out for al San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) electric customers. According to the Los Angeles TimesMore than 4 million lose power in major blackout; Arizona utility worker triggers a chain reaction that reaches from Mexico to Orange County, bringing routine life to a halt:

…The blackout was triggered by a mishap on a high-voltage power line linking Arizona and San Diego, causing a cascading series of electrical grid failures stretching into Southern California.

APS, which is Arizona’s largest electric utility, said a worker was doing maintenance on lines at a nearby substation when the blackout occurred.

“The outage appears to be related to a procedure an APS employee was carrying out in the North Gila substation,” an APS spokesman said in a statement. “Operating and protection protocols typically would have isolated the resulting outage to the Yuma area. The reason that did not occur in this case will be the focal point of the investigation into the event, which already is underway.”

Despite temperatures that reached into the 100s in San Diego and Imperial counties, excessive electricity demand didn’t appear to be a factor in the power loss, said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator, the agency that oversees most of California’s electrical grid.

“It was not a case of a high-demand day,” she said. “The operating reserves were fine.”

Well, I live in San Diego. While waiting for power to be restored — well, I ended up bringing a bottle of wine to an impromptu bar-b-q in my apartment building complex. A few of us just ate beef, sausages, peppers and brussels sprouts that had been grilled over charcoal, sipped on alcoholic beverages, and talked about LGBT community people and issues. My Rayovac electric camping lanterns, that I have on hand specifically in preparations for natural disasters, were a big hit in the neighborhood. I actually had two people offer to buy one of the lanterns off of me.

I’d just left the party to go to bed when power in my section of the city was restored — power came back on just after 10:00 PM PDT. So in my neighborhood, power was out for just over six hours. But, just over six hours seemed great news as we’d been warned by SDG&E, as well as city/county government, via the battery powered radio I had on hand for emergencies, that power might be out 24-hours or longer. Six hours sounds much less horrible when we’d been warned power was going possibly be out four or more times that long earlier that evening.

The Los Angeles Times reported in the article All SDG&E customers have power restored, officials announce that power was restored to all SDG&E customers by about 4:00 AM PDT.

Okay, life back to normal. It was a reminder for me that preparation for emergencies and natural disasters are a must — it was odd to realize that I was probably the best prepared dweller in my apartment building for an unexpected emergency situation.

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen