UPDATE: City Light says it’s restored power to downtown Seattle after big outage

11:51 AM: In case you are heading downtown sometime soon – you should know about a big power outage in the heart of downtown. It’s not even on the Seattle City Light map, but they’re definitely aware of it. SCL attributes it to “equipment failure at Massachusetts Street Substation” and says it might take “a couple hours” to fix. We know lots of West Seattleites work downtown – is this affecting you?

12:07 PM: Someone in comments asked if there are any West Seattle effects; not that we have heard. The substation mentioned by SCL is in SODO (shown on this map). Meantime, they’ve moved up the guesstimate for restoration to 12:40 pm.

12:17 PM: While this mega-outage is NOT shown on the Seattle City Light map, SDOT has come up with one based on the boundaries that have been announced:

12:20 PM: We’re listening to officers downtown via scanner, as they assist with traffic control downtown, and they’re saying some intersections have power back – a couple mentioned on 5th – but a few blocks away, they’re still out. Also, Councilmember Kshama Sawant – who chairs the council committee that oversees SCL – tweeted that City Hall (5th/Cherry/4th/James) has power back.

12:26 PM: More restoration – SPD channel indicates lights on 3rd are working.

12:34 PM: SCL has officially declared power back on (while saying they don’t know yet what caused it). West Seattleites in the city’s Municipal Tower and the county’s Chinook Building – not far apart – confirm they’re back on. But downtown will likely have lingering effects throughout the afternoon.

12:48 PM: City Light says it doesn’t know yet how many customers (businesses/homes, in this case apartments/condos) were affected, but “12,000 meters” were in the outage zone.

37 Replies to "UPDATE: City Light says it's restored power to downtown Seattle after big outage"

  • JennyL May 25, 2016 (11:55 am)

    Streetlights out downtown, causing traffic backups. Seems that the light at the 1st & Pike intersection is working…

  • Brad May 25, 2016 (11:58 am)

    I work at a state agency near the International District and our power is out. We’re typically not super productive here at the state, but as you can imagine things are particularly slow at the moment. 

  • Juniper May 25, 2016 (11:58 am)

    I work in Safeco Plaza (4th and Madison). Our building and all of the buildings around us are out. Our backup generators are keeping on some lights and the WI-FI still works. Continuing to work.

  • Brian May 25, 2016 (11:58 am)

    2nd and Union is out of power.

  • Ryan Madsen May 25, 2016 (11:59 am)

    My building in Belltown across from Pier 69 lost power and the fire alarms went off. 

    Does anyone know if this affects WS at all?

    • WSB May 25, 2016 (12:06 pm)

      No WS effects that we have heard or seen. Except that our website was briefly running a bit slow with a burst of interest in this (and we’re purposely hosted OUT of the area so that a disaster here won’t affect us).

      • newnative May 25, 2016 (12:11 pm)

        I have had a slowdown on internet speed.  People might be using up data, bandwith with the insanity.  I first heard about the outage from a FB user in Hawaii.  When I didn’t see anything here, I figured it was a rumor.  

  • Joshua Blackmore May 25, 2016 (11:59 am)

    I work downtown Near Union and 7th and it’s completely blacked out.  No traffic lights functioning so be careful crossing streets on foot and driving.  I heard 2-3 hours until power is restored.

  • Sue May 25, 2016 (12:00 pm)

    I’m at 3rd and Seneca and definitely affected. I need to be at KC District Court for a hearing at 1, but not sure if they have power – can’t reach a human on the phone and can’t even consult an outage map to check. Frustrating.

  • newnative May 25, 2016 (12:03 pm)

    Power fine in Lower Queen Anne but a function my coworkers are attending on the waterfront is shut down.  No power.

  • Drew May 25, 2016 (12:07 pm)

    I work in Pioneer Square, outage extends down to King St. So if you’re hoping to see the M’s you’re in luck, as long as you can get here.

  • West Seattle since 1979 May 25, 2016 (12:07 pm)

    Power is out in our building at Yesler near 1st, and in the surrounding area from what I can tell. However, I do see traffic lights working at Alaskan Way and Yesler.


  • Tim May 25, 2016 (12:07 pm)

    Just rolled thru Pioneer Square and the ID and all lights out a ton of people standing around. I was heading back to my office in the SMT  but don’t want to walk up 23 floors to a dark office!

  • HelperMonkey May 25, 2016 (12:08 pm)

    OMG. Check the 911-log. So many “rescue elevator” calls. I would hate to be stuck in an elevator! Poor peeps. Also, check in from BF near Century Link – power is on there. 

    • sam-c May 25, 2016 (1:26 pm)

      Forget elevators, what happens if you’re on top of the Ferris wheel when the power goes out? or maybe they have back up power, hopefully.

      • WSB May 25, 2016 (1:30 pm)

        I saw a tweet go by from some tv station with the caption on the photo indicating they were interviewing somebody who did get stuck on the Great Wheel at the time …

        • sam-c May 25, 2016 (4:44 pm)

          scary. I would be a little freaked out to be stranded up there, especially if the estimated restore time was 3-4 hours. 

  • Joleen Post May 25, 2016 (12:09 pm)

    The Y’s website is down as it is  hosted in our downtown offices. 

  • Laetitia May 25, 2016 (12:11 pm)

    Power out on 1st and spring, everyone getting out of buildings!

  • worker May 25, 2016 (12:12 pm)

    Please put up an outage map.

    • WSB May 25, 2016 (12:16 pm)

      Outage map doesn’t show this: http://www.seattle.gov/light/sysstat/

      • WSB May 25, 2016 (12:17 pm)

        ..however, SDOT has just made its own map and I’m adding the tweet with the graphic to the narrative.

  • LilWash May 25, 2016 (12:16 pm)

    Our building just gave an ETA of 12:40pm

  • Lincoln Park May 25, 2016 (12:18 pm)

    Yes.  Second and Seneca no power.  Caught the bus (c line to west Seattle).  Packed with folks headed home to work.  Some of buildings had back up power but ours didn’t.  

  • Jim Clark May 25, 2016 (12:19 pm)

    South Lake Union at the Seattle Times is fine but apparently it is affecting Magnolia also.

  • Brad May 25, 2016 (12:19 pm)

    Power is back on. 

  • sc May 25, 2016 (12:19 pm)

    I worked at Boeing in Renton during the Nisqually quake in 2001.  When the power went out I was in one part of the building and my car keys were in my purse at my desk!  Everyone had to evacuate from where they were in the building so my purse was left behind.  Eventually a manager brought out the purses and I was able to get home.  After that I always kept my car keys on me.  I am now retired but still keep my car keys close!

  • Hoku May 25, 2016 (12:28 pm)

    Power was just restored to Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 5th Ave.

    • WSB May 25, 2016 (12:31 pm)

      Thanks! In another governmental building, we just got a text that the Chinook (county, I believe) Building is back on as well. (I hope nobody got caught in the Muni Tower elevator – ONLY place I ever go & take long elevator rides – that turbo trip to the 40th floor where the Hearing Examiner’s chambers are …)

  • West Seattle since 1979 May 25, 2016 (12:50 pm)

    Ours was back on around 12:30 or so.

  • Alki Resident May 25, 2016 (12:52 pm)

    SC thats a great tip.

  • JennyL May 25, 2016 (1:07 pm)

    In the Russell Investments building at 2nd & Union. Power not yet on in the building, or at least not the floors I’m talking to. Elevators were working throughout.

  • JennyL May 25, 2016 (1:11 pm)

    And we’re back on in the Russell Investments building!

  • Eddie May 25, 2016 (3:28 pm)

    Coincidence that there’s a big outage the same day that there’s a big marine law enforcement excercise out on the bay?  

    • WSB May 25, 2016 (3:36 pm)

      The exercise hasn’t started yet. They invited media to observe and Patrick is just now arriving at T-5 to go out on a boat; the advisory listed the hours of 4-11 pm, though the official announcement yesterday wasn’t quite that specific. – TR

  • anonyme May 25, 2016 (4:17 pm)

    I was in the SLU Whole Foods when this happened.  Power was on there, but it looked like all of downtown decided to head there for lunch or recreation.  I’ve never seen anything like it, 20-30 people waiting in every line at every checkstand.

  • AMD May 25, 2016 (8:11 pm)

    Today we learned that the emergency lights that are supposed to illuminate staircases in our building don’t work.

    On a personal note, I learned that I see in the dark better than I knew I could but taking the stairs in utter darkness is still a terrible idea.

    Will be interesting to hear what caused the outage once they figure it out.

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