Washington, D.C., Including the White House, Hit by Power Outages

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NBC News- The White House, the Capitol and the State Department briefly lost power Tuesday as part of a widespread outage in Washington.

Patrons were evacuated from the Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery, the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, and the Metro transit system said that 13 of its stations were operating on emergency lighting.

NBC Washington, citing a county official, reported that an equipment failure at a Maryland power station appeared to be the cause. The Department of Homeland Security said it had no immediate reason to believe the blackout was terror-related or a criminal act.

At least 9,400 customers in Washington and suburban Maryland were in the dark, according to two power companies Pepco and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative.

Pepco, in a statement, called it a “momentary outage” and said that some customers switched to backup power systems.

At the White House, the lights dimmed in the press briefing room before backup power kicked in. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said that President Barack Obama was unaffected.

The State Department’s daily briefing was cut short because of the blackout, while the U.S. Capitol complex was running on a backup generator, a congressional aide told CNBC.

The University of Maryland in College Park also reported that lights were out on campus. The campus closed for the day.

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