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A major power outage struck Baja on the afternoon of October 12, knocking out electrical power in Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, and San Felipe.

A CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad) press bulletin stated that some 760,000 Baja residents were left devoid of juice when the outage struck at around 3:20 p.m. on Friday, affecting industry, businesses, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, nudie clubs, and ruffled sports fans bent on watching the American League baseball playoffs that were in progress.

Liquor stores and markets were forced to shutdown or minimize service, as cash registers quit functioning. Hotels in the Zona Norte became darkened caverns and bar patrons wandered about the streets.

Some Tijuana residents raced to stores to stock up, primarily on hielo (ice). By the time this reporter managed to walk up to Calle Sexta from Coahuila, electricity was back on in the Perrico Bar and the Yankees were a couple outs away from their win. Power was restored on in as little as 34 minutes, but some pockets stayed juiceless.

As of 7:00 o’clock last night, the cause of the outage remained unconfirmed, according to Tijuana’s daily Frontera, although it appeared that a sudden spike in delivery of current to a Tijuana substation caused computerized safety systems to initiate a shutdown.  

The outage came one year and 35 days after a similar outage last summer. The 2011 outage also affected parts of California and Arizona due to power-sharing agreements between the U.S. and Mexico.

Óscar Armando Hernández Muñoz, spokesman for CFE in Baja California, told Frontera that the nature of power generation and the system of transmitting along various high-voltage lines and substations somewhat delayed restoration of service last night.

“It’s not like starting up a car,” he said. “You have to start up each generation unit one by one, and make sure that everything in the system is integrated and functioning properly. Then the current flows…”

Although no major injuries were reported as a result of the outage, some TJ residents were stuck in elevators, and a major convocation at the CECUT (Centro Cultural Tijuana) facility ("Tijuana Innovadora") was shut down and evacuated over safety concerns when event organizers deemed they could not continue with the conference segments as scheduled.

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