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System overload, crash lead to county power outages

More than a quarter of a million San Diego-area homes and businesses lost electrical service at various times this morning due to a regional power-system overload and other utility problems, officials reported.

The first and largest outage occurred shortly after midnight, when excessive demand on the Southern California electrical grid forced the Independent System Operator, which operates the majority of the state’s power supply, to direct San Diego Gas & Electric to reduce its transmission load by about 290 megawatts, ISO spokesman Gregg Fishman said.

The cutback — similar to a “rolling blackout,” though the area affected in this case did not change — left roughly 250,000 addresses without power for less than an hour, according to Fishman. All those customers were all back on line by about 1 a.m., he said.

Another outage, believed to have been caused by a problem with overhead electric lines, occurred shortly after 8 a.m. and affected 2,162 addresses in parts of Carlsbad, La Costa, western San Marcos and southern Vista, SDG&E reported. Power was restored to those areas by late morning.

A traffic accident resulted in a third blackout about 9:15 a.m., leaving roughly 3,375 customers in parts of Cardiff, Encinitas and Olivenhain out of service, according to the utility company. All of those addresses were expected to be back on line by mid-afternoon, SDG&E reported.