San Francisco Chronicle
Power outage affects 50,000 in the East Bay
Tens of thousands of customers lost power in the East Bay on Sunday afternoon in a widespread blackout that left drawbridges stuck half-open, snarled traffic and shut down Oakland International Airport for two hours, according to officials and online utility outage trackers.
The outage, which began at 1 p.m. and affected more than 50,000 customers at its peak, impacted a large portion of East Oakland, as well as parts of Alameda and San Leandro, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s online power outage map and city officials. Nearly 26,000 homes and businesses were still without power Sunday after 6:30 p.m. PG&E’s online estimate said electricity would be restored by around 2:25 a.m. Monday.
PG&E’s tracker said crews had determined the outage was caused by an equipment issue.
The Oakland Fire Department responded to a fire at the PG&E substation near 50th Avenue and Coliseum Way, according to an AC Alert issued by the city of Oakland. Oakland Fire spokesman Michael Hunt told The Chronicle that the fire sparked due to a transformer exploding at the substation. Crews extinguished the fire, and no injuries were reported, he said.
Power went out at Oakland International Airport just before 1 p.m. and was restored at 2:50 p.m., said airport spokesperson Robert Bernardo.
BART tweeted about 2 p.m. that the outage had halted service on the Oakland Airport Connector, with AC Transit providing bus service between the Coliseum station and the airport.
The Fruitvale Bridge drawbridge in Alameda was left stuck in a halfopen position. The Park Street drawbridge was half-open as well for more than an hour, but as of 2 p.m. it was back down.
The bridge problems caused huge traffic backups out of Alameda, an island that has only four points of entry into Oakland.
Representatives from the utility company did not respond Sunday to The Chronicle’s inquiries about the details of the outage.
Officials from the Alameda Municipal Power agency tweeted Sunday afternoon that the city was experiencing a “major outage due to a PG&E transmission outage.”
“We are attempting to determine cause and when power will be restored. We appreciate your patience and will update as more information is known,” Alameda officials tweeted.