Investigation continues into massive power outage - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Investigation continues into massive power outage

Update, Thurs 11 AM: New information about this week's massive South Florida power outage. It looks like the feds may now take over the investigation.

More than 2 million people from the Treasure Coast to Key West lost power Tuesday when a switch failure and fire at an FPL substation created a system wide meltdown.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will decide by the end of the week whether to investigate the power failure.

Right now, FPL is currently holding its own investigation into the matter.

Reporter: Juan Carlos Fanjul

Update, Wed 9:30 AM: A major power outage affected people from the Keys all the way to Daytona Beach. It started as a small problem at a substation in Miami-Dade County but quickly snow balled out of control.

Things are now back to normal, but, on Tuesday, FPL reported more than 168,000 people lost power ever so briefly in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. But the brunt of this outage was felt by our neighbors to the south.

Lights flickered on and off at a Broward County courthouse. Further south, at the University of Miami, it was lights out at the college book store leaving students in the dark. They're just some of the hundreds of thousands affected by a massive blackout. "Something very strong exploded. I immediately said to myself it has to be something serious."

At 1 p.m. residents living near a West Miami-Dade FPL substation heard the beginning of the outage: A small explosion and fire after an electrical switch malfunctioned. A switch that was supposed to isolate itself when it went offline caused a ripple effect across the power grid.

Twenty-two substations across South Florida ended up shutting down. The domino effect reaching the big one - Turkey Point Nuclear Power Station - where two reactors were turned off as a precaution.

Up to three million people were disconnected at one point or another. In downtown Miami, the 55 story Wachovia Tower had no juice meaning people had to take the dreaded stairs.

Governor Crist, meanwhile, is demanding answers. "There will be an investigation by the utility companies and the public service administration within our administration."

Miami-Dade County officials say there was no sign of criminal activity at that substation. The Miami-Herald reports some air conditioning companies did report summer-like calls for service Tuesday, but it's unclear if the heat played any role.

Previously: Florida Power & Light is reporting massive power outages throughout South Florida Tuesday afternoon.

A substation equipment failure may have tripped two FPL power generator units creating a domino effect in the power grid which caused a massive outage from the Daytona Beach area into Monroe County.

The outage hit shortly after 1 p.m. and was first thought to be a local issue; however, calls from across the state south of Orlando started complaining of power problems.

FPL says it's investigating the problem.

We'll keep you updated.

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