Power restored to CES show floor after 2-hour blackout

The lights were off in the Las Vegas Convention Center for the middle of day 2 of CES 2018.

John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
John Falcone
2 min read

Yes, the rain did cause the power outage in Vegas today.

In a joint statement the Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority, NV Energy and Consumer Technology Association (CTA), said condensation from yesterday's rains was what led to the outage:

Today at approximately 11:15 a.m. PT, 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.


The Central Hall, soon after the blackout hit.


The lights flickered back to life in the Las Vegas Center nearly 2 hours after a major power outage brought a major portion of the world's biggest technology show to a standstill.

The lights went out at around 11:13 a.m. PT, just as the second day of CES 2018 was ramping up. It came a day after more than an inch of rain fell in Las Vegas, which caused flash flooding in the desert city. (Wednesday's weather is clear and warm, and it's unclear if the power outage was at all related.)

The first reports of the blackout came from the convention center's Central Hall, which houses the giant booths for show mainstays including Sony, Samsung, LG and Intel -- though Samsung's booth still had limited electricity thanks to its own private backup power

By noon, security guards were refusing entry to parts of the Convention Center.

The website of Nevada Energy, the power provider, listed the cause of the problem as "customer-owned electrical equipment."

Roadshow's Tim Stevens said the power also flickered at the Cosmopolitan Hotel across town.

As of 12:34 p.m. PT, the power was on in South Hall and at the CNET Stage, which livestreamed the outage. The North Hall, which had reportedly lost power earlier, was also back online.


The atmosphere in and around the Convention Center during the blackout was largely calm and relaxed, with attendees generally bemused by the outage, at least in its early stages. That wasn't true for anyone who had their phones in charging lockers around the show, however: With the electronic locks disabled, the phones were inaccessible for the duration of the blackout.

Twitter was flooded by photos and videos from the scene:

Follow our live coverage here.

Scenes from the CES 2018 blackout

See all photos

Update, 2 p.m. PT: This story was first posted at 11:40 a.m. PT and has been updated with news of the power coming back on.

Update, 2:20 p.m. PT: Adds joint statement on the cause of the power outage.

CES 2018: CNET's complete coverage of tech's biggest show.