Malfunction Causes 5-Hour Power Loss in South County


About 14,000 homes and businesses in communities south of Mission Viejo lost electricity for three to five hours Saturday afternoon because of a transformer malfunction.

The outage happened around 3:30 p.m. when two transformers shut off at the Trabuco substation in San Juan Capistrano, which serves much of South County, a spokesman for San Diego Gas and Electric said. Utility crews restored power by about 8:30 p.m.

The cause of the outage was under investigation, said David Kusumoto, a utility spokesman.

The outage left many Labor Day weekend barbecues and dinners in the lurch, with angry customers calling both the power company and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department demanding to know what to do with refrigerators full of food.


“We’ve had numerous calls asking us what they should do with their defrosting meat and complaining about melting ice cream,” Sheriff’s Lt. Jay Mendez said.

Mendez said the outage shut down traffic signals on Oso Parkway between Moulton Parkway and Felipe Road and at Marguerite Parkway and La Paz Road, causing four or five accidents with minor injuries.

Utility officials said when an outage occurs, customers should unplug large appliances, such as refrigerators, stereos and computers, to protect them from possible damaging power surges when the electricity comes back on.