An equipment problem is being blamed for a widespread power outage left many Saskatoon neighbourhoods in the dark for hours Thursday evening.

The problem began just after 5 p.m. with SaskPower reporting power outages in the River Heights, Massey Place, Confederation Park, Silverwood and Arbor Creek neighbourhoods. The power in Warman also went out shortly after 6:30 p.m.

Power was also out in the Erindale and Silverspring neighbourhoods serviced by Saskatoon Light and Power.

The outage affected traffic lights which led to large  traffic jams and also resulted in patrons being asked to leave the city-operated Shaw Centre and the Lawson Civic Centre leisure facilities.

The Lawson Heights Mall closed to shoppers but the mall's Target store did manage to stay open thanks to backup generators. Restaurants, strip malls and gas stations across a wide area of the city's northeast neighbourhoods also closed their doors because of the outage.

SaskPower says the outage was caused by an equipment problem on a transformer in Warman, and an issue with a substation near the center of Saskatoon.

Power in some areas of the city and Warman was restored beginning at approximately 9 p.m. but it took until about midnight until the lights were on in the Silverwood neighbourhood, the final area where service was restored.