Ma­jor power out­age sweeps the Wash­ing­ton, DC re­gion


A power out­age swept the Wash­ing­ton area Tues­day, hit­ting the White House, the Capitol and the State Depart­ment and knock­ing out elec­tric­ity for thou­sands around the U.S. cap­i­tal.

Out­ages stretched from down­town Wash­ing­ton into neigh­bor­ing Mary­land, knock­ing power out for more than 2,500 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to area power com­pa­nies.

Most out­ages were brief, but com­puter sys­tems were down in of­fices and ac­cess to Metro trains was dis­rupted.

Wash­ing­ton power provider Pepco said the out­age was caused by a dip in volt­age as a re­sult of an is­sue with the trans­mis­sion line.

“There was never a loss of per­ma­nent sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to cus­tomers,” Pepco said.

Elec­tric­ity was back to nor­mal by mid-af­ter­noon and the com­pany had dis­patched teams to look into how it hap­pened.

Out­ages were re­ported at more than 2,100 premises and house­holds in Wash­ing­ton, ac­cord­ing to Pepco, and more in Mary­land sub­urbs southeast of the cap­i­tal

Ma­jor gov­ern­ment

build­ings were not spared, in­clud­ing the White House, which lost power briefly.

Back-up gen­er­a­tors kicked in promptly to re­store lights and com­put­ers that were knocked out for sev­eral sec­onds, ac­cord­ing to an AFP re­porter.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there was no in­di­ca­tion that the out­age was as a re­sult of a se­cu­rity breach.

“I do not cur­rently see a nexus to ter­ror­ism,” he told re­porters.

The State Depart­ment went dark in the mid­dle of a press brief­ing, which con­tin­ued on for a time in the dark, a spokes­woman read­ing from her notes with the light from her cell­phone.

“The State Depart­ment was among the build­ings af­fected to­day by a power out­age,” spokesman Jeff Rathke said.

“The depart­ment has con­tin­ued to carry out its es­sen­tial func­tions through­out the out­age.”

Lights had re­turned to build­ing by mid-af­ter­noon.

Power at Capitol Hill flick­ered on and off in­ter­mit­tently but was later re­stored, an of­fi­cial there said.

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity ruled out foul play, and

the said it was “closely mon­i­tor­ing the re­ports of power out­ages af­fect­ing parts of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.”

“At this time, there is no in­di­ca­tion that this out­age is the re­sult of any ma­li­cious ac­tiv­ity,” DHS added.

Mu­seum staff cor­ralled most vis­i­tors into the open- air cafe­te­ria space, said Kuntz, who him­self made a bee line to the exit and pro­ceeded to the Na­tional Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory, which re­mained open.

Sev­eral metro sta­tions lost power and were on emer­gency light­ing, but trains con­tin­ued to run in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

Metro po­lice said on Twit­ter “units re­spond­ing to as­sist at all sta­tions af­fected by power out­ages. No el­e­va­tor en­trap­ments re­ported at any sta­tion.”

Power had re­turned to most metro de­pots by af­ter­noon.

The hash­tag #dcpower­outage was one of the top trends af­ter the cut, with some users post­ing pho­tos of dark­ened sub­way tun­nels and the lights- out State Depart­ment brief­ing.

By later Tues­day af­ter­noon, the re­gional power com­pany, South­ern Mary­land Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive, said only seven peo­ple were with­out power in the re­gion.

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