At least two transformers at a PSE&G switching station in New Jersey suddenly failed Monday morning, knocking out power to about half the utility's customers in Bayonne and several thousand others in Jersey City.
PSE&G said 20,000 customers in the two cities were without power as of 10:15 a.m., about 45 minutes after it said the transformers "went out of service." Power was restored about an hour later.
The cause of the failure is under investigation.
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An outage map on PSE&G's website at one point showed clusters of red all over Bayonne, with a few clusters in nearby Jersey City.
Chopper 4 footage showed darkened traffic and street lights; commercial offices, including at least one dentist's office, also lost power. Traffic moved, albeit slowly, as confused drivers navigated dark intersections. Law enforcement officers were seen helping direct traffic in some spots, and the city's Office of Emergency Management issued a plea for caution driving.
Twitter erupted with a flurry of residents seeking answers. PSE&G responded to a few, initially putting the estimated time for service restoration at mid-afternoon.