Who needs terrorism when you've got incompetence?

A sudden power outage hit Los Angeles and its environs on 9/12/05. Laura Wides of the Associated Press reports,

An error by utility workers caused a blackout; outages were reported from downtown west to the Pacific Coast and north into the San Fernando Valley. Much of the power, which failed at 12:37 p.m., was restored within 90 minutes. All power was restored by 3 p.m.

Workers who were cutting wires mistakenly sliced them as a group rather than individually, causing a short and leading to the trouble, officials said. “They cut wires that caused circuit breakers to trip,” said Ed Miller, director of power system operations and maintenance for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Initially, the department said they believed the outage occurred after the cables were incorrectly reconnected.

An earlier Associated Press reported:

The blackout came a day after ABC aired a videotape of a purported al Qaeda member making terrorist threats against Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, on the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

People were trapped in buildings, elevators, and snarled traffic for hours, but no major incidents were reported, despite the heightened tension caused by the outage.