San Francisco power outage hits 90,000, business district affected

SAN FRANCISCO, April 21 (Reuters) - A power outage on Friday morning in San Francisco affected around 90,000 people, stalling work in the technology and finance center as a vast swath of the financial district lost electricity.

Paul Doherty, spokesman for utility PG&E, said there had been an incident at a San Francisco substation and a series of outages began affecting the city shortly after 9 a.m. (1200 ET). He was unable to give an estimate of when the problem would be fixed.

The outage affected central and northern parts of the city, according to the city's Department of Emergency Management.

Related: San Francisco before it was a city

San Francisco before it was a city
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San Francisco before it was a city

San Francisco's first residents, members of the Yelamu tribe, began inhabiting the area around 3000 BC. Approximately 150 to 300 people lived in the boundaries of modern-day San Francisco, though they also roamed to neighboring sites.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

A group of Spanish explorers, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà, arrived there in 1769. This was the first documented European visit to the San Francisco Bay.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Clear Case

At the time, sand dunes stretched for about seven miles from east to west.

Photo Credit: Willard Worden/Open SF History

Source: San Francisco Department of the Environment

Here's another early 20th century photo of sand dunes, which formed centuries prior, in what is now the 1,000-acre Golden Gate Park

Photo Credit: San Francisco Public Library

The Spanish settlers established the Presidio of San Francisco (i.e. the "Royal Fortress of Saint Francis") in 1776.

Photo Credit: NYPL

The same year, the Mission San Francisco de Asís, the oldest surviving structure in the city, was built. The Catholic church was made of adobe, brush, and wood, which weren't the best materials considering California's earthquakes. Here it is in an 1863 photograph

Photo Credit: NYPL 

The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when it became a part of Mexico.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

In 1835, English entrepreneur William Richardson founded the city’s first homestead outside Mission San Francisco de Asís, near what is today Portsmouth Square (a one-block park in the city's Chinatown neighborhood).

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Source: San Francisco Gate

The same year, Richardson and Alcalde Francisco de Haro, a Mexican soldier, laid out an urban plan for a larger town, named Yerba Buena (“Good Herb” in Spanish) after an aromatic plant native to the area. The town began to attract American settlers.

Photo Credit: Found San Francisco

A decade later, Yerba Buena had doubled in population to nearly 1,000 residents, and the town’s name was changed to San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Public Domain 

Source: "The San Francisco Bay Area"

In 1849, San Francisco became the home base for the gold rush, cementing it as a center for maritime trade.

Photo Credit: NYPL


But in 1906, a huge earthquake and fire devastated the city. Here's a photo of the wreckage of San Francisco's City Hall.

Photo Credit: NYPL

Over the next few decades, San Francisco rebuilt itself ...

Photo Credit: NYPL/Ewing Galloway

... and its population boomed.

Photo Credit: NYPL

Construction on the 1.7-milelong Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city built up its infrastructure. Here’s a 1945 photo of a street with the city’s earliest streetcars, which debuted in 1873.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Source: San Francisco Cable Car Museum

The promise of San Francisco's bohemia, cool summers ...

American psychedelic rock band The Grateful Dead poses in San Francisco, circa 1960s.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

... and the beautiful bay brought more residents to the city.

Two women pose with the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, circa 1940s.

Photo Credit: Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives

Today, San Francisco is home to over 800,000 people.

Source: Bay Area Census

Photo Credit: Getty 


Office workers spilled onto city streets in the heart of the business district, milling about as traffic snarled since stoplights were not working.

King Lip, chief investment officer at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco said his offices had been hit.

"It's pretty big, seems like half the city has no power. It's a big deal. All our systems went down. We were in the middle of a trade, luckily we have cloud-based software so all the trades are saved and we're going to have our people in Texas or New York execute it," he said.

(Writing By Peter Henderson, additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Andrew Hay)

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