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Massive Power Outage Brings San Francisco To a Standstill

A fire at a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) substation caused one of America’s largest cities to come to a standstill on Friday, the SFGate online reported.

The outage in San Francisco took place at 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and at its peak affected 88,000 customers in the city. By 4 p.m. most power had been restored, according to PG&E officials.

“While no major injuries were reported, the ordeal meant everything from lost business at shuttered shops in Union Square to minor shake-ups for those briefly trapped by darkness in the bowels of downtown skyscrapers,” SFGate reported, adding that people who were trapped in elevators and had to be rescued.

“Big Lesson: back-up generators,” Mayor Ed Lee said at an afternoon press conference. “It worked.”

Still, some 300 traffic lights — about a quarter of those across the city — went dark during the outage causing a traffic nightmare.

“Pacific Gas and Electric Co. traced the problem to the failure of a circuit breaker that ignited insulation and started a fire at a substation at Larkin and Eddy streets, just north of City Hall,” SFGate reported. “The equipment was slated for a $100 million overhaul that was under way, said Barry Anderson, a vice president at the utility.”

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