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SOUTH COUNTY : Power Failure Slows Traffic, Education

A power failure of undetermined origin hit two South County cities Wednesday morning, disrupting rush-hour traffic on Pacific Coast Highway and classes at Dana Hills High School.

Electricity was cut off at 8:21 a.m. and affected about 2,600 homes and businesses in parts of South Laguna and Dana Point, said Dave Kusumoto, a spokesman for San Diego Gas & Electric Co. The power was interrupted by a blown circuit breaker but what caused the breaker to fail was not immediately determined, said Tom Larimore, another company spokesman.

“There is no external cause for the failure that we are aware of. Our company engineers are still trying to determine what happened,” Larimore said. “It was probably a faulty cable somewhere.”

The power outage affected an area stretching from 6th Avenue in Laguna Beach on the north to Selva Road in Dana Point on the south, Larimore said.

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Power was restored to some areas in about 30 minutes, but electrical disturbances continued throughout the morning in other sections, Kusumoto said.

Dana Hills High School lost all power for parts of the morning, causing students and teachers to rely on sunlight, said Principal John Smart.

“We have auxiliary batteries in some parts of the campus and we rang our class bells manually,” Smart said. “The electricity has been flashing on and off all morning. It’s not the best of situations and it hasn’t been business as usual, but we’re dealing with it.”

Sheriff’s deputies and Laguna Beach police directed traffic on Pacific Coast Highway for about half an hour due to failed traffic signals.

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