Gunfire at Silicon Valley Substation Triggers Power Outage

Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 | 3:26 PM ET

A Silicon Valley power substation was damaged after shots were fired early on Tuesday morning, leading the California grid operator to call for electricity conservation in the face of what it called an act of vandalism Jason King, a spokesman for PG&E Pacific Gas and Electric, said the vandalism caused a leak in cooling oil.

"There were gunshots heard at the facility," early in the morning, he said. PG&E still is assessing the damage.

PG&E: Substation Damaged Due to Vandalism
PG&E is reporting heavy damage to transformers at a power substation, with CNBC's Jon Fortt.

He was unable to comment further on the motive or extent of the crime, and law enforcement was not immediately available for comment.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) made the conservation request to local businesses and residents in a "Flex Alert" for Northern California.

"This is a critical substation in Silicon Valley. Transmission capability in the area is much limited and that's why we are calling for conservation now," said ISO spokesman Steven Greenlee.

Electricity has not been interrupted so far, but that is a risk if conservation does not happen, Greenlee said. He did not know when the station might be back to normal but said that switching out transformers "takes a while."

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.