Category Archives: Utilities

Power outage affects 100k L.A. residents

This afternoon, the power went out in my building at the Brewery in Lincoln Heights. We thought it was just a temporary outage, which happens every so often during crazy windstorms like the one we had today, but on checking with our neighbors and venturing out into the neighborhood we realized that it was much more widespread, as we saw traffic lights and a few stores without power. After a few hours, we called the office and were told that DWP said it would be up to 24 hours before service was restored. My roommate and I prepared ourselves for the long, dark night by going to the store and stocking up on the essentials: booze, non-perishable snacks, and bandages for the inevitable head wounds that would result from boozin’ it up in the dark.

I would have posted this earlier, but had no power until just now. I called LA DWP and asked them for an E.T.A. for the power returning; she told me they were working on a goal of midnight to have power back to my area. From what their nice pre-recorded outage message said, over 100,000 DWP customers were affected by the outage, which was caused by several transformers and power lines going out. It seems that Burbank was also affected, but I don’t know how much power has been restored to them yet. It looks like some of the residential blocks near me are still dark.

Is anyone else still experiencing an outage? (Of course, if you are I don’t expect you to be reading this, but if you know of friends and family who are still in the dark, let us know!)

Update: Looks like power was out in parts of Silverlake and Larchmont Village, too.

Update #2: Power is still out in Montecito Heights and parts of Century City as of Friday morning, and seems to be flickering on and off in Studio City. Commenters, keep ’em coming, and hang in there.

None The Less Heroic could be anywhere. We’ve all seen this scene (click to embiggen). In this case it was yuesterday afternoon at the corner of Regent and Eucalyptus in Inglewood where, for whatever the chain of events, a vehicle plowed over a hydrant sending a powerful geyser of water 40 to 50 feet into the air, and bringing L.A. County Firefighters and paramedics and Inglewood police to the scene.

I’ve often wondered how these temporary torrents get capped. Is a call put in to the appropriate water department to “shut down the grid?” Can its feeder pipe be digitally engaged to close? Is the liquid nitrogen brought in and administered to freeze the waterfall? Uh, no. I found out it’s done the very old-fashioned and wet way in the form of a couple hearty firefighters going under a tarp andwading into the eye of the storm searching for the shut-off valve wherever it might be all the while getting viciously pounded by the downpour. PIx after the jump.
Continue reading None The Less Heroic

Lights out!

Grabbing a moment of power on a generator to let you know there’s currently a blackout in Silver Lake. We’ve had no power since about 6:50am or so. Looks like several blocks around us are in the same situation, how fun!

UPDATE: 1:30 PM and it’s back up. w00t!

Water Main Break in Silver Lake?

Just coming home and saw literally a torrent of water pouring down a hill near our house. We followed the river up the hill to it’s source, which seemed to be at the corner of Micheltorena and Effie where water was bubbling up out of cracks on the road. Bubbling might not be strong enough of a word, spraying up. A good several inches in height from the pressure. I assumed we’d have no water when we got home but things seem to be fine here. Can’t find anything on the local reports, but 980 KFWB was reporting this afternoon that pipes were breaking all over town.

What You Say!!

This week a lot of opinions were thrown around, so much so that I can’t limit this to only the top five. So here are the 8 posts from this week with the most active comment threads.

  • Is Tony Pierce notable? – Markland talks about the controversy surrounding Wikipedia potentially deleting the article on Tony Pierce because he’s not notable enough for some people. Lots of discussion about what makes someone notable. Votes were tallied yesterday and the article was deleted. Sorry Tony.
  • What Neighborhood Is My New Apartment In? – Jillian just moved and no one can figure out what part of town she’s now in since it’s one of those in between areas. Lots of talk about what neighborhood is what.
  • Unwarranted Motorcycle Hate – heathervescent chimes in on an article with a very serious bent. Seems others have strong feelings about motorcycles as well.
  • Q&A: Winging It With The Bird Man – Will Campbell interviews those hangy bird things, you know, the ones that people either love or hate. Comments filled with both.
  • Seeking Hip, Edgy Lofters – Before finding the ambiguously neighborhooded location mentioned above, Jillian was seeking some advice and got plenty of it.
  • I HATE YOU TIME WARNER – heathervescent continues the endless displeasure with local cable / utilities. Surprise, surprise, other people agree.
  • Crime, Cops, Guns and Trust – Is crime up or down? And how does that relate to neighboring cities? And why do folks in LA have less rights than those in OC? Lots of opinions in the comments on this one originally by me.
  • The Cahuenga Pass Steamboat? – Markland wants to know the history of this building and the comments are packed with info.

Underground fire causes Hollywood blackout? was out today in the Outpost and Franklin area of Hollywood from about noon til 4pm.

Word was that a neighbor was walking his dog along Outpost and watched as a manhole cover exploded upward followed by a fireball. Sounded intresting enough, so I walked around the block to see if there was any corroborating evidence, and sure enough the DWP guys were there taking a peek. One guy was pointing what I suspect was either a temperature gauge or gas detector into a manhole. When I came in for a closer look, I saw what appeared to be burn marks around the hole (as seen in the pic from my camera phone).

Alas, the DWP website isn’t currently working – possibly too much traffic from others looking to find out exactly what happened.

Anyone else encounter a power outage on this hot late summer day?

The Grove – “Screw Your Power Crisis”

In the comments on an earlier post about the current heat/power crisis, reader Matt points out that the stores at The Grove are the worst offenders in town. They have their air on full blast and their doors wide open trying to entice customers out of the courtyard into the icy coldness of consumerism. While this is a commendable tactic in a “get more people in the store” standpoint, it really blows from the “who cares if half the city loses power, we might make an extra $45 sale!” perspective. Does the city have any regulations about this kind of thing? I mean generally I wouldn’t care what a store does but if any of those 175,000 people who lost power yesterday were in the dark so that Crate & Barrell can get a little more foot traffic, well, that’s bad. And how much money is the city spending asking people to not run washing machines during the day, maybe someone could call over there and ask them to close their doors already? I’m going to be even less psyched about this if the state starts in with the rolling blackouts thing and I know it’s American Girls fault.

Swampcoolers In Los Angeles?

apeshade.jpgMeredith, a Boston transplant, wrote us asking, “Do swamp coolers work in the LA climate?” I think this is a perfect opportunity to discuss tips on keeping cool over what is gearing up to be a long, hot summer.

But first, to answer Meredith’s question (she’s concerned because she’s heard “it’s supposed to be dry for them to work, is LA too moist?”) – I must claim ignorance. Swamp coolers supposedly work best in dry climates, and not at all in higher humidity, because their design relies upon cooled water molecules being blown through the machine, which would be hindered by pre-existing moisture in the air.

My first guess would be that yes, because L.A. has a dry desert climate, but our summer humidity averages from about 85% in the mornings to 68% in the afternoons (stats from CityRating). However, as I write this the humidity in the Hollywood Hills is 38%… so, perhaps it all depends on when and where you’re using a swamp cooler in the city. Beach areas, I’d imagine, would prove less effective for the moisture belching swamp coolers than the deep valley.

Have any readers had experience with swamp coolers? And now, to broaden the subject, any new tips on keeping your home cool over the summer?
Continue reading Swampcoolers In Los Angeles?

Phonelines Jacked in Beachwood?

After hearing that some folks were having phone line issues over in Beachwood I contacted some friends who live there and got this story. No idea how many people are in the same boat, but it sucks none the less. Kathy writes:

Woke up Saturday morning and discovered the phone lines were dead. No dial tone. No nothin’. Assuming rain had knocked the line out, not the first time, I call up AT&T/SBC on my one-tiny-bar of connection cell phone to see what the ETA is on having our phone back. According to a pre-recorded message there was some damage on the line affecting eastern parts of Los Angeles. Crews were at the scene working on the damage and should have repairs compete by…. October 24th? Huh wah?

Okay, that sounded off but I figured they were working on it and… well you hope they’ll have it up before October. I resign myself to no phone or internet for a few hours. Maybe I’ll read or something.

Hours go by and I check with AT&T/SBC again. Precious World of Warcraft hours are just slipping away — something’s gotta give. Still nothing. Dead silence. I decide to call on my cell again and see if repairs might be done sometime today and not October.

This time I don’t get a recording I get the typical voice mail maze. I navigate it down to a live person eventually who tells me he is going to test the line for me. Gee thanks.

Surprise of all surprises it appears I am having a problem with my line. They’ll have to send someone out. How’s Thursday? Dude, it’s friggin’ Saturday — what is this communist Russia? Five days without phone and DSL service? You’re kidding right?

He’s not kidding. Thursday’s all they have. Feeling completely violated I say okay when what I really wanna do is scream and yell about communist Russia; the phone company’s impossible incompetence; the insane reality that a huge metropolitan city like Los Angeles would force its citizens to go 5 days without phone or internet service; that Chad’s business is run from the house on the internet and without his paycheck we won’t be able to buy food or sweaters for the dogs; that I can’t even get fucking Verizon to get a station near my house so I can even use my cell phone without going outside and walking down the street.

“Thursday’s fine, ” I say meekly.

So here we sit without communication with the outside world. Adding insult to injury DirecTV also died the night before The Sopranos and saw fit to schedule repair service three days down the road. Guess that beats five.

GarbageScout soon to hit LA?


I’m up in San Francisco for the weekend and just sawthis cool post by Phillip Torrone about the recently launched GarbageScout SF, the San Francisco version of New York’s Gartbage Scout. Basically from your phone, you can email a picture of something you see on the street being thrown away that someone might want to “[email protected]” and in the body of the email type a description @ location. (for example: monitor @ 1000 Sepulveda) and it will googlemap the location to the site. Although the FAQ. seems specific to NYC, it looks like GarbageScout LA is functional just without any posts yet. I’m not sure how to send something in to specify Los Angeles, but I’m hoping to see more there about it soon.

Feeling Powerless?

At least one area of Silverlake is – North of Rowena and West of Hyperion there seems to be a few blocks with no power and maybe no phone. Things are fine where I am which is shocking as usually when we get more than a solid hour of rain we lose everything. Underground transformers to blame?