An electricity outage Thursday gave downtown workers an impromptu hour-long break.

More than 17,000 business and residential customers were without power in the blackout that affected areas from Stanley Park to Cambie Street.

Chris Funk, style director at Blo hair salon in Yaletown, said he had to act fast to avoid losing business.

“We’ve had to call our clients to tell them to go to our salon on Granville (Street), which is still open,” Funk said. “Our salon at the Four Seasons is down too.”

Judy Brooks, CEO of Blo, said the power outage caused her some personal grief as well.

“I was in the middle of the blow dry when all of a sudden the power went out,” Brooks said. “My hair is still wet.”

A problem at the Del Grauer underground substation caused the outage.

While power was down, 9-1-1 operators reported 10 times more calls than average to the fire department, mainly from fire alarms and stalled elevators.

The lights were back on by 12:40 p.m.