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Location: - Blackout - San Diego

The 8th Largest US City, San Diego, is Blacked Out

The 8th Largest City, San Diego Blacked Out

It all starts when a 500KV high voltage interstate electrical transmission line going into San Diego starts to flicker. Service teams show up and try to fix it. As they repower the system, one little thing grounds out, causing instability, voltage loss, circuit breakers to trip, and the line to shut down again. The power grid reacted by getting the power from another source, or trying to. Basically the power to supply San Diego had to come down one fewer lines, and there are only a pair (north, and east), or local power generation units.

Today's incident was not arrested by the San Onofre nuclear power station as 2 of the 3 reactors shut down due to the electrical instability. Without those 2 nuclear power generation units, and the loss of the 500KV line, there was far too much load for the single line to the north, and it shut down. So without the power from the nuclear power plants to replace the line, the other lines tried to compensate, and failed.

As each generation unit suffered instability, or reached 100% capacity, it shut down to protect itself. The dominos fall until enough of the grid was shut down to make the remainder stable. Anything inside the blackout area went dark. Now the system will be brought back up one piece at a time.

California is experiencing very high heat today, so the air conditioners were going full blast. This magnitude of this blackout is a result of both the mechanical line breakdown, and the power usage of those in the area effected. Had the power grid not been operating at high throughput for the heat wave and population size, the outage would have been minimized to the single transmission line. Because the power grid and generation systems are operating so close to it's maximum capacity, it no longer has a buffer built into the system.

The blackout covers not only this large swatch of territory, but leaves the whole of San Diego, California, the 8th largest U.S. city, without power for 2 days. Not only are over 1.5 million in the dark on September 9, 2011, but their work day tomorrow, their food supply, their water supply, sewage systems, etc. are all inoperable.

From a New York Times article here:

San Diego residents called friends around the country for updates on the blackout, as rumors flew about what was going on. Some people lucky enough to make it home organized neighborhood gatherings. Carrie Sandys bought the last of the ice from a corner store and planned a barbecue with her neighbors to use up their produce, now that their refrigerators were out.

This isn't the first time this has happened in the United States.
Those who are prepared simply switched on their generators, or over to battery power. Tomorrow, those with solar panels will have plenty of power to conduct business, make ice, or keep the electric pilot light active, facilitating a hot shower.

Is your family really ready for the lights to go out?
Will your family be comfortable, fed, and with sound food supply?
Will your computer and television connect you to the information you so desparetely want at that moment?
Will your phone and laptop have a power supply?