Major power outage hits parts of California, Arizona and Mexico

A major power failure in the US cut electricity to around 5 million people in California, Arizona and Mexico yesterday. The cut brought San Diego and Tijuana to a standstill and left people sweltering in the late summer heat.

Two nuclear reactors went offline after the loss of power, but officials ruled out any possibility of danger to the public or workers.

San Diego was most severely hit by the outage, which started shortly before 4 pm as the 8th-largest city in the US was immersed in darkness, with all outgoing flights from San Diego's Lindbergh Field airport grounded and police stations functioning on emergency generators.

Parts of Orange County regained power last evening, but, according to officials, most people would have to spend the night in the dark.

Officials said the outage was probably triggered by an employee removing a piece of monitoring equipment that was causing problems at a power substation in southwest Arizona.

According to the power supply company, Arizona Public Service, the power loss should have been limited to the Yuma, Arizona, area and it was investigating why the blackout was not contained.