Some businesses in Salt Lake City took a short break from their regular Monday routines as sections of the downtown area were left without electricity.

Lights flickered and dimmed elsewhere in the Salt Lake area but did not go out. Power surges have the potential of damaging sensitive computer equipment, however, if the equipment is used without a surge protector.A failed transformer at the Snarr Substation, Fourth West and Sixth South, caused the outage. All power was back on within about an hour. Most of the blackout area generally was from South Temple to Sixth South, between Second West and Second East.

At least four traffic semaphores in the heart of downtown were without power - at Main and First South streets, and three intersections on South Temple. Police dispatchers sent officers to wave vehicles through the intersections.

In all of these places but one, power was restored by 10:43 a.m., 23 minutes after it went off. The exception was near Fourth West and Sixth South, where power was off for about an hour.

At Covey and Co., stockbrokers sat in a dark office. "It's another Black Monday," joshed stockbroker Beau Backman.

Power and phones were not working, making it impossible to trace the stock market's fluctuations, buy and sell stock or even explain to puzzled callers why the firm wasn't answering telephone calls.

At the Deseret News, reporters could phone out, but the phones wouldn't ring, so callers could not reach the paper. An old manual typewriter was drafted for service when computer screens darkened.

Dave Gagon was shopping in a card store in the ZCMI Center, 36 S. State, when the lights went off.

"I just finished paying for a card for my wife, took two steps, just turned around to leave - and it went black," Gagon said. From what he could see, the entire mall seemed to be without power.

"It looked very black. I guess in about 15 or 20 seconds, they (lights) came back up again."

Everyone seemed calm, Gagon said. "There was a lot of laughing."

Dave Mead, spokesman for Utah Power & Light Co., said crews were attempting to find out the cause of the disruption.

Electricity was restored in much of the area "when we were able to get power to a key downtown substation, which is at Arrow Press Square," he said. Feeder lines spread out from the substation throughout Salt Lake City.