Update: Southern California Edison reported power had been restored to customers throughout Santa Monica as of 9:42 a.m., about three hours and 45 minutes after a power outage was first reported in the city.

As of 10:45 a.m. there was no known cause for the outage, which at its peak affected roughly 20,000 customers.

SCE spokesperson David Song said there could be any number of explanations, from a strained grid to equipment failure to an external factor such as a metallic balloon entering a substation.

The reason for the widespread nature of the outage was due to a failure at the hub and not one transformer or line.

“It originated at the substation,” Song said, likening the issue to a traffic collision at a major intersection rather than on a side street.

“Instead of just one lane closure on the freeway or on Ocean [Avenue], it’s like shutting down the McClure Tunnel,” Song offered as an analogy

The spokesman said SCE was thankful for customers’ patience.

“We definitely appreciate customers’ patience with this. It’s a hot day,” Song said, later adding, “We recognize all that and definitely appreciate people understanding.”

A final determination of cause, if one is found, could take days.

8:52 a.m.: Power was out across much of Santa Monica on Tuesday morning, July 19. Southern California Edison (SCE) reported an outage of unknown origin impacting about 20,000 customers. Most outages were first reported around 6 a.m., according to spokesperson David Song.
As of 8:52 a.m., SCE did not offer an estimate for when power would be restored, nor a cause for the outage. The SCE outage map showed all Santa Monica outages under the category of: “Outage Reported: A field investigator has been alerted and is on route to the outage.”
Song said the initial focus was not on determining scope or cause, but rather restoring power as quickly as possible.
“Crews are working to quickly and safely restore power — get that done and we’ll have a better picture of things,” Song said Tuesday morning.
In addition to traffic signal outages, SMFD was responding to elevator rescues in the area. The Santa Monica Library Main Branch reported it was part of the outage and its 10 a.m. opening may be delayed.
When power is out to an intersection, treat it like a four-way stop, Song cautioned.
Check for updates at www.sce.com/outage-center/check-outage-status

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.