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SDG&E Unplanned Outages

Clean, safe and reliable energy: it's what SDG&E customers count on every day. But at times, events outside of SDG&E's control can cause the power to go out unexpectedly. We call these unplanned outages and treat them as a high priority emergency.

A variety of things can wreak havoc on our system, such as a car crashing into a power pole, a mylar balloon stuck in a power line, and equipment failure or heavy rain and winds from a winter storm, to name a few examples.

When a power outage does occur, SDG&E's distribution operations center personnel are alerted at the same time calls come into our customer contact center and posts to our social media channels pop up. Customers reporting an outage are one of our most valuable information sources. Reporting on what they have seen, heard and even smelled greatly improves our restoration efforts. What happens next? An electric troubleshooter gets a call, and at the same time, distribution operations center staff work to reduce the number of customers affected by the outage using switches that help isolate the damaged equipment.

Here's something you may not know. Electric troubleshooters answer calls from home 24 hours a day so they can respond as quickly as possible to power outages. They're highly qualified and act quickly covering an area spanning more than 4,100 square miles.

And their response times are some of the best in the industry. They're typically on the scene within an hour, depending on the outage location and time of day.

At the scene, the electric troubleshooter gets to work to identify the problem and fix it.

The electric troubleshooter may need to request additional resources, depending on the extent of the damage, which could include multiple crews if the damage is below ground. In this situation, work may need to be done in different parts of our system.

If the damage is below ground, the electric troubleshooter requests a fault van. Fault vans can identify outages in SDG&E's complex underground electric system using state of the art equipment. If the electric troubleshooter needs assistance, a crew is dispatched from one of SDG&E's operating centers with the tools, equipment and vehicles needed.

When the crew arrives on the scene, they work around the clock to restore power as safely and quickly as possible. SDG&E's electric distribution system is a vast network of overhead and underground facilities with many complex parts. But SDG&E has highly qualified experts capable of fixing problems that arise, and they go about the challenge while keeping themselves and customers safe.

For more information on outages, visit SDG&E's outage map on or SDG&E's mobile app. These two channels are regularly refreshed with the latest information and are the fastest way to receive updates. If you have an outage to report, go online, use our mobile app, social media like Twitter, or call us using our automated phone system.