Power outage affects South Orange County businesses and residents

Pets Plus employees only light came through the front windows during last weekend's power outage. (Jordan Rangel/Lariat)

Pets Plus employees only light came through the front windows during last weekend’s power outage. (Jordan Rangel/Lariat)

A massive power outage left parts of San Diego and Orange County without power Sunday afternoon. The outage occurred around 1:15 p.m. and lasted up to four hours in some areas, leaving thousands of people without power on a hot day.

The outage was an order from the California Independent Systems Organization to San Diego Gas & Electric to drop 150 megawatts of power.

One business that did not fully close was Starbucks. It continued to provide customers with coffee, tea and other beverages.

On the other hand, Ralphs grocery store did not allow customers to shop during the power outage.

“We have to send [employees] home to save our labor cost,” Ralphs Manager John Terrell said.

Terrell said a major concern is refrigeration.

“We call source refrigeration…so [refrigerated] inventory can be properly taken care of,” said Terrell

Smaller, local businesses were losing customers, labor hours and profit from the power outage.

Pets Plus business owner Scott Johnson had three out of eight Southern California stores affected by the power outage.

“We didn’t close our stores, instead we proudly accepted cash or checks,” Johnson said. “Having the power out definitely costs us money. We’re all losing hundreds to thousands of dollars.”

Some shoppers found benefit from the power outage, including Steve Clark.

“I saw that they were out [Pets Plus] so I went to the one on Pico [Unleashed] but they were out too…I came back here because they [Pets Plus] are cheaper, but I probably lost some fuel,” Clark said.

Other than retail businesses, the streets and communities were having their own set of problems.

“Some street lights were working and some were flashing, it was weird,” said San Clemente visitor Milton Allen.

Streetlights had stopped fully working and people who lived in gated communities worried about getting back home.

“The gate guards had to manually open the gates,” said Marblehead resident Scott Keely. “People had to go in and out of the entrance.”

Despite all the displeasure that came with the power outage some people took advantage, enjoyed and learned because the power was out.

“It’s nice not to have the lights on…I got my drink, I get to people watch…it’s relaxing,” said Saddleback College student Kirsten McCartney, 18, a fashion design major.

SDGE says the power outage is rare and it doesn’t plan for it to happen in the near future.