Power outage hits 20,000 Seattle City Light customers

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

SEATTLE - Power was turned back on Sunday about three hours after thousands of Seattle City Light customers were plunged into darkness.

"When that switch was closed," a City Light worker said, "the load got picked up so customers got power restored to this area."

The outage hit six Seattle neighborhoods: Eastlake, Montlake, North Capitol Hill, Fremont, Wallingford and University District.

It was traced back to the University substation just off the Burke Gilman trail.  A City Light spokesperson said they believe there was an equipment failure. 

Drivers were forced to treat darkened intersections as four-way stops, and a long line formed outside the University of Washington's Alaska Airlines Arena, where the UW women's basketball team was set to start at 2 p.m.

"Did you know the power was out here in Seattle?" Camille Dayment of Bellevue was asked.

"We did as we were heading over the bridge," Dayment said. "But we thought we'd give it a try anyhow. We're hopeful there's a backup generator or something."

It didn't come to that at an AT&T Mobile storefront in the University Village.  They got the word they could close, seconds before the power came back on.

"Are you happy your day is over then?" Eli Brown was asked.

"In terms of being able to be with family on a Sunday, yeah." said Brown. "But in terms of business, no."

"You know, we haven't had a customer since 30 minutes after the power went out anyway," said his colleague, Josh Johnson. " We'd just be sitting around twiddling our thumbs."

A City Light spokesperson said he still doesn't know what caused the equipment to fail. He said they could have a more definitive answer tomorrow.

The UW women's basketball game started an hour late.