As night fell in San Diego County, millions of residents were left in the dark, wondering when power would return after a failure in the system created a cascade effect, knocking electricity out all the way to Orange County and down into Mexico.
The major outage knocked out power in a region of almost 6 million people in the Southwest, bringing San Diego to a near-standstill and leaving people in the surrounding desert to swelter in late-summer heat.
A glimmer of hope came in the darkness when San Diego Gas & Electric officials announced power was slowly returning, with some customers’ service restored Thursday night. They said they hoped the majority of county resident would be back up by Friday afternoon. In the interim, they urged everyone to turn off whatever appliances they could so the system would not be overtaxed when power came back online.
By 8 p.m., officials were reporting that power had been restored to parts of Oceanside, Eastlake and the Chula Vista community of Bonita. At about 10:30, SDG&E tweeted that residents in Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Escondido, Rancho San Diego had their power back, while in South Bay, electriciy had been restored in National City. Farther north in Orange County, the lights in Mission Viejo and San Clemente had also come back on. Around 9:30 p.m., Imperial Irrigation District, which supplies power to 146,000 customers in the San Diego area, said they had restored power to 99 percent of customers.
“We have a ways to go but were starting to see a bit of progress right now,” said Mike Niggli, chief operating officer of tSDG&E.
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