Just before the Sept. 8 power failure that stretched from Yuma to San Diego and into northern Baja California, Mexico, began, a strange series of 20 events occurred in a period of 11 minutes scattered over a huge portion of the interconnected grid. The mishaps stretched through areas operated by five separate entities, known as balancing authorities. Steven Berberich, president of the California Independent System Operator, laid out some of the highlights of the sequence to lawmakers Oct. 26 during a joint hearing on the blackout by the Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. CAISO is one of the five balancing authorities. The others are Arizona Public Service, the Imperial Irrigation District, Western Area Power Administration, and Comision Federal de Electricidad in Mexico. Here are some of the highlights Berberich outlined: -At 3:27 p.m. on Sept. 8, an Arizona Public Service employee working on a 500 kV line made an error. It caused the line to fail cutting some power flowing to Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego Gas & Electric. -Twenty seconds later, a power plant in Mexico went out. Two minutes after that an Imperial Irrigation District power plant in Imperial Valley went down. -Next, a Western Area Power Administration intertie line went out. -Two additional Imperial Irrigation District power plants went down. -Another power plant in Yuma, AZ, disengaged. -Mexico then lost another power plant and another intertie in the area went down. -Large flows of power south of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station overloaded a line tying SDG&E to Southern California Edison territory. At that point, the nuclear station was taken offline and CAISO implemented its emergency plan to separate SDG&E from Edison and the Los Angeles area to contain the outage. That left everything to the south without power, causing major traffic jams as signals could not work. Lack of power also resulted in sewage spills and \u201cboil water\u201d orders because electricity was not available for drinking water or sewage treatment in some locations that lacked adequate backup power systems. Cell phone systems became overloaded and many motorists with empty gas tanks were stranded because there wasn\u2019t power to operate service station pumps. It took SDG&E 12 hours to fully restore power. All told, 5,000 MW of generation went down and 7,800 MW of load was dropped.