LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A major power outage hit Los Angeles area on Monday, knocking out electricity to thousands of customers as officials scrambled to determine the cause and police declared a state of emergency.
"The city is on a tactical alert and obviously traffic is going to be impacted," Los Angeles Police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said.
Maiberger described a tactical alert as "what happens when the city goes into a state of emergency. Police officers will only be responding to calls where there is a threat to life."
Maiberger said there were no evacuations planned and no reports of injuries.
"There's a major disruption," Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells said. "It's a widespread power disruption."
A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokeswoman said it was not immediately known how many homes or businesses were without power, though it was known to be in the thousands, but that the utility was trying to pinpoint the trouble.
"We are trying to get a handle on it," spokeswoman Kim Hughes said, adding that heat was not thought to be a factor on a relatively cool September afternoon. "We think it's a transmission problem."
Outages were reported across downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, North Hollywood, Burbank and in the San Fernando Valley. Officials said power had not been lost at Los Angeles International Airport.
Television stations showed scenes of confusion unfolding at major traffic intersections as motorists tried to navigate through stoplights that were no longer working. Traffic from the area's freeways was reported to be jammed as stoplight outages caused backups onto the freeway exit ramps.
In the financial district of downtown Los Angeles office workers huddled in groups outside their buildings.
Many workers were stranded outside their buildings, which occurred during lunch and stalled elevators in the high-rise district.
A spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state's power grid, said the outage in Los Angeles appeared to involve transmission lines within the control area operated by the city's Department of Water and Power, a big municipal utility.
The ISO said it had no further immediate information.