The city of San Francisco got hit by a massive power outage today, putting over 90,000 residents in a blackout. The outage began around 9 AM local time, and Pacific Gas & Electric immediately began assessing the problem. A cause for the blackout has not been officially pinpointed yet.
The outage was particularly harmful to the Financial District of the city. Many businesses and a federal courthouse in the area were forced to close down. People caught inside metro stations when the blackout occurred were forced to use their cellphones as makeshift flashlights in order to get out. The downtown Montgomery Street BART station was totally closed, and a fire occurred at the Larkin and Eddy Street substation as a result of the outage. Trains that go through Montgomery Station are still running, but are not making stops in that area. Most trains are still running on time.
San Francisco authorities are urging drivers to treat intersections as four way stops because the outage has also killed hundreds of traffic lights in the city. Car traffic may increase because of the delays in train service, and jams have already been reported at some downtown intersections. A contributor to this will be the increase in shuttle services put out by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to make up for the limited cable car service.
In the aftermath of the outage, many San Francisco residents went to Pacific Gas & Electric’s website in search of updates. However, some expressed their annoyance with the utility company when they found that the site’s map only mentioned one building experiencing an outage in downtown San Francisco, without a single mention of power issues elsewhere in the Financial District. A representative for Pacific Gas & Electric later said that updates would be made as the company investigates the major outage, and pins began to be added gradually to the site’s map following their response to initial social media criticism.