Employees for many shops along State and Chapala streets arrived at work Tuesday morning to find the power out and no hope of restored electricity for the rest of the day. The outage was caused by a switch that blew up on De La Guerra Street, a Southern California Edison foreman said, as his crews worked to remove the underground sludge that caused the switch to shut off. Power went out at approximately 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, he said, and would not be restored until around midnight.
Around 70 customers lost power on the west side of State Street near the Paseo Nuevo Mall, according to Southern California Edison’s website, including 10 or 12 stores in the mall such as Macy’s, Express, Gap and Eureka Burger. While most shops simply closed their doors for the day, some stores found creative ways to deal with the outage. A hairdresser at 19 Blue Salon and Spa cut hair by candlelight, a jewelry store accepted cash only and kept its windows wide open for the sunlight, and the Volkswagen car dealership kept its employees busy in the car lot and outside of the office.
At Billabong, one of the only effected stores on State Street operating at full capacity, the employees said they were doing their best to make the power outage fun. Sales associate Sarah Clark said that because their store loses power about five times a year, they are comfortable using back-up measures, such as making carbon copy receipts and calling banks to confirm credit card payments. Still, she said, they had never had a power outage that lasted more than a few hours before.
Everywhere, employees were relieved the power outage avoided the holiday weekend rush. “If this had to happen on any day, I’m so glad it was today,” Clark said.