San Francisco Mayor Lee Calls Candlestick Outage ‘National Embarrassment’

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee called the power outages that left fans and players in the dark at Monday night’s San Francisco 49ers game at Candlestick Park a “national embarrassment.”

The first outage began shortly before 5:30 p.m., when the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was scheduled to begin. Service was restored about 20 minutes later and the game got under way, but the lights went out again at about 6:45 p.m., during the second quarter.

PHOTOS: Niners vs. Steelers

The outage blackened the field and stands at Candlestick Park but no nearby homes were affected.

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy Reports:

Officials from the 49ers initially said Monday that the first outage was caused by a blown transformer, and an aerial video appears to show a flash near the stadium at the same time the lights went out. However, Joe Molica with PG&E said that they’ve determined that the cause of that outage was a power line coming down on Egbert Avenue, a couple of blocks away from the stadium.

“The arc we saw last night was the wire separating from itself, not a transformer,” said Molica.

As for the second outage, which came in the second quarter of the game, earlier a PG&E spokesman blamed a city-owned auto transfer switch, but Molica only said that they are still working with the city to determine the cause.

“What we did was a detailed investigation so far that does not show any disturbance on either of the electrical circuits that feed Candlestick,” said Molica. “However, we’re working closely with them to determine what did happen on that second outage.”

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington said “the second feed kicked in” but that his agency is looking into “how fast that happened, and did we respond to that appropriately.”

Harrington said, “Nothing that we know indicates that the power failure was caused by city equipment … the power feed was clearly a problem of when their line broke.”

He said the age of Candlestick Park—which opened in 1960 — could have been a factor in the time it took to restore the lights.

“An older facility has a harder time getting back up,” he said.

The 49ers, who are guaranteed to host at least one playoff game as the NFC West champions, said they want to wait until the investigation is complete before commenting.

Police are also investigating a bomb threat to the stadium phoned in prior to the game, which the 49ers won 20-3.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • Jimmie Enderfield

    Mayor Lee apparently doesn’t know that San Francisco has been a national embarrassment for decades.

    • SOMAtwocents

      The rest of the country is an embarrassment when one realizes all the ignorant, superstitious neanderthals who live in the middle and the south. Glad you’re not here. Please don’t come here….ever!

      • SF Blows

        Do you think anyone in the Midwest or South gives a sh!t about SF? Trust me, you’ve got nothing to worry about. If SF (or California for that matter) were to fall off the continent, none of us would lose a wink of sleep.

  • JM in San Diego CA

    Tree-huggers and other weenies have made it this way. No expansions, no upgrades, no profits, no smoke … nothing.

    How stupid are the people who are surprised! The providers of electricity are being made out to be devils for trying to do their jobs.

  • Mike

    So, how’s all that green energy working for you now California?

  • caligula

    how could the infrastructure in a Democrat run city be falling apart like that? i thought Dems were the champions of updating infrastructure. oh well…sounds like every other rat-infested Dem run city in America.

    • Marty

      So you want America to be like it was in 1925? Before Medicare, Social Security and Civil Rights?

      • JM in San Diego CA

        “Logical Leap” is not an Olympic event. But if it were, you could medal. To be taken seriously, keep it real.

  • GMAN51

    San Francisco values on display.

  • david7590

    a National Disaster.

  • tgc

    There is nothing about San Francisco that ISN’T an embarassment!
    Trust me Mr. Mayor….the rest of the country can’t possibly think less of your lame city than we already do. The power outage didn’t change anything.

  • russell

    First it was reported as a transformer blowing. Then it was a line the ‘separated’ itself. Now it was determined that neither one of the lines connected to the stadium was affected by the predetermined/speculated causes. So, let’s see………..hmmmmm. A bomb threat was called in prior to any power outage. First it was a transformer but miraculously the power was back. A transformer could not have been replaced in that time. Then it was a wire separation. Now it was neither. I smell a cover up.

  • Dave

    I’ll bet you are correct corn. And a lot of AA hiring in the electrical maintenance department.


  • motgew

    Brought to you by the EPA and domestic environmental terrorists. With the path they have us on, get used to it .This is the new normal under government run by so-called progressives.

  • russell

    Probably a trial run by eco-freaks to cause mayhem at future events. What better than a freak city to try this in. After all, non-normal behavior would go totally unnoticed. These abnormal city dwellers are getting attacked by the freaks that they created and support. Bully for them.

  • Bork Abomo

    It was a power outage, these petulant little children think they are entitled to a ‘perfect life’ and act like drama queens whenever the least little thing interrupts their petty, unimportant lives.

  • brad

    I guess the sun was not shiing. Oh, that’s right. The sun setted. It must be the lack of wind that caused the power to go out. Oh, stored on batteries? Like the Volt? That;s why the flash explosiion.

  • russell

    The power outages? To where? Not to the park. Read the article.

    “The arc we saw last night was the wire separating from itself, not a transformer,” said Molica.

    As for the second outage, which came in the second quarter of the game, earlier a PG&E spokesman blamed a city-owned auto transfer switch, but Molica only said that they are still working with the city to determine the cause.

    “What we did was a detailed investigation so far that does not show any disturbance on either of the electrical circuits that feed Candlestick,” said Molica.

  • george

    Given the choice, I’ll take the outage any day.

  • russell


    Your spelling needs a little fine tuning but I like your angle. To go further, it might be that all the thousands of gerbils that were running in their wheels producing power had to stop and get ready for their nightly endeavors.

  • Klaus

    Obviously, the power outages were deliberate in order to propagandize for a new stadium, as was the fake bomb threat. This is what rich people in association with government do. Terrorize the public until they give in. Whenever terrorism strikes, look no further.

  • russell


    The guv will only terrorize the sheeple. The rest of us are well armed and WILL fight back.

  • emil56

    Thats okay san francisco just keep voting those liberal progressives in office.

  • Phillip Bias

    He is right it is an embarresment but he is a much bigger embarresment by far

  • 49ers’ Harbaugh Makes Case For Smith To Make Pro Bowl « CBS San Francisco

    […] after he got sacked nine times in a flop at Baltimore on Thanksgiving night. He was unfazed when Candlestick Park went dark not once but twice to interrupt Monday’s game on the big stage, delaying kickoff and then stopping play early in the […]

  • tn

    Way too many special interest groups (the “save this and save that” organizations and localities who say they’re entitled to be employed folks) and governmental agency hoops to go through (form of job security) in order to fund and build a new stadium. No one wants to pay for it while everyone and everyone’s mothers thinks they’re entitled to all its profits, taxes and proceeds. This is where capitalism, politics and greed all come together to form a perfect road to nowhere. Go Niners!

  • Cowboys

    But there is another, unavoidable reason that Cowboys Stadium will not experience a blackout. That venue sits on multiple power grids. If one goes out, another flips on seamlessly, without any interruption to power. So, although one grid might see a blackout, the rolling outage process ensures that the stadium is always receiving power from another grid.

    Downtown Dallas and Fort Worth are also on multiple, redundant power grids.

    • OBAMA/PELOSI 2012

      Yeah, but Texas sucks a$$ and that state is chalk full of idiots. You can’t look any further than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

      • JM in San Diego CA

        If you knew the word is “chock, ” not “chalk,” you might be considered worthy of walking a Texan’s dog. Otherwise, no.

  • Mike

    Sorry ObamaPelosi 2012. As a super liberal myself Texas has got alot good going for them, unlike our crumbling state. Our state falls behind in every area of education, sadly enough to Texas too.

    • Marty

      California needs to split itself in two and start over. For some trivial reason, we haven’t. SPLIT CALIFORNIA NOW!

  • Marty

    I’ve been reading about how Texas is doing better than California. Maybe if the Golden State wants to be golden again, we should do what they’re doing?

    Abolish the State Income Tax
    Amend Prop 13 to work for the local governments and not the legislature
    Set a flat sales tax
    Reform the unions
    Build a 50 foot high fortified concrete wall along the Mexican border with 20 foot deep foundations
    Legalize hemp for industrial production
    Repeal Prop 8
    Abolish the death penalty since it’s a waste.
    Create a health care system similar to Austria’s(combo public/private)
    Have talks with businesses about what they want in order to convince them to move here
    Lower corporate taxes, but make sure they pay what they owe(they can’t pay nothing)
    Close all loopholes

    Basically, use common sense.

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