November 1 -- A rat caused a roadblock on the information
superhighway Tuesday, blacking out thousands of Time-Warner cable
and Internet customers in three Westside cities for several hours
and triggering a power outage for hundreds of local Southern California
Nearly 12,000 Santa Monica Time Warner subscribers were affected,
5,000 of them through the Internet, after a rat crawled into an
above ground high-voltage path mounted switch and causing the
outage at around 5 a.m. on Halloween morning, according to Time
Warner and Edison officials.
“The power outage was due to a rodent that got into some
high voltage equipment by 26th and Colorado and heavily damaged
one piece of equipment which caused power problems in that area,”
said Marc Olson, Southern California Edison’s region manager.
The destruction of the switch left more than 300 Edison customers
and several businesses along Colorado, including MTV’s West
Coast headquarters, in the dark. The affected area was bounded
by Nebraska and Colorado avenues and Franklin and Stewart streets.
“They were some major businesses affected in that area,”
One of buildings impacted was a main station for Time Warner,
which took over services from the bankrupt Adelphia cable company
August 1. The power outage at the building at 2858 Colorado Boulevard
triggered a domino effect.
“It affected subscribers in Santa Monica, West Hollywood
and Beverly Hills,” said Patti Rockenwagner, vice president
of communications for the cable company. “It affects both
cable and high-speed Internet services.”
She said she was not sure how many subscribers were affected
in the three cities.
Until service was restored at around 1 pm, Time-Warner technicians
worked out of the company’s other Santa Monica station on
Ocean Park Boulevard, which was not impacted, cable officials
“I know our business was affected, so we’ve been
rerouting and been using back up generators,’ said Rockenwagner.
The service interruption was not a result of the recent change
in cable service providers from Adelphia, she said.
“It was an unexpected, isolated incident and is not related
in any way to the transfer of cable services,” Rockenwagner
The recent power outage comes three months after an Edison transformer
in Downtown Santa Monica exploded during a regional heat wave,
leaving some 50 businesses in the dark for a week. (see
Several Downtown business owners criticized Edison for not upgrading
their power structure in that area. (see
Olson said most customers in the Colorado area were up and running
by 1 pm Tuesday, but at least one customer, on 26th and Colorado,
would not see power restored until the evening, he said.
“We need to replace that major piece of equipment,”
Olson said, referring to the switch.
While unusual, rats and rodents have been known to crawl into
switches from time to time, damaging equipment.
“It happens occasionally that they get into something they
shouldn’t be getting into,” Olson said.
As for the rat, Olson said it perished at the scene.