The day the lights went out at CES

The big story of this year’s CES isn’t smart assistants or autonomous cars. Hell, it’s not even giant TVs. The one thing we’ll all remember when we’re all old and gray, telling our grandchildren the war stories from our years in the tech blogging trenches, are all of the non-tech news madness at the event.

Day one’s big stories were a shaken GoPro CEO, a royally pissed off Huawei executive and Las Vegas’s utter lack of preparation for a rainstorm. This morning, it’s a power outage that’s impacting the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, leaving CES 2018 looking like something out of a disaster film in some dystopian future in which mankind is left to partner with smart speakers and Bluetooth headphones.

The Consumer Tech Association, which puts on the show, addressed the occurrence on social media, stating, “There is an isolated power outage at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We are working hard to resolve this and appreciate your patience.” Thankfully, this is CES, so there are plenty of folks on-hand to document the Central Hall evacuation and the bizarre scene inside.

The CTA also added, much less helpfully, “While we work through this isolated power outage feel free to visit our exhibitors in South Hall and North Hall. Also get outside on this beautiful Las Vegas day and check out Central and South Plaza.”

The power outage has apparently left some in the hall relatively unscathed. The Tesla booth appears to be making the most out of an unfortunate situation, and this violin player at the Intel booth seems to still be having an okay time.

The outage has been ongoing for about an hour as of this post. We’ve reached out to the CTA for further comment. In the meantime, feel free to point out all of the applicable metaphors to the current state of the electronics industry.

Update: Things appear to have gone from bad to worse. The blackout has impacted the convention center’s North Hall, as well, leaving only the South Hall fully operational. The CTA is now recommending that people check out all of the exhibitors outside. So maybe Google’s outdoor booth wasn’t an entirely terrible idea, after all.

(12:45PM PT) NV Energy is on the case. The issue has reportedly been resolved and power is expected to be restored to the Central Hall in ~25 minutes.

(1:00PM PT) We’re hearing that the power is slowly kicking back on.

(2:13PM PT) According to the CTA, the culprit was, in fact, the rain. Here’s a link to a relevant Everything But the Girl video and here’s the official statement on the matter.

Today at approximately 11:15 AM, the Central Hall and South Hall bridge meeting rooms at the Las Vegas Convention Center lost power. Power in the South Hall was restored within minutes, and power has now been fully restored to all areas. A preliminary assessment indicates that condensation from heavy rainfall caused a flashover on one of the facility’s transformers. We are grateful to NV Energy for their swift assistance, to our customers and their clients for their patience and to the staff for ensuring the safety and security of all attendees and exhibitors.