Brief power outages interrupt downtown Berkeley

BART rolled in an emergency generator to downtown Berkeley because of some brief power outages this morning. Photo: Siciliano Trevino

BART rolled in an emergency generator to downtown Berkeley because of some brief power outages this morning. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

PG&E fixed a power outage that affected around 1,900 customers around 2 a.m. — only to find that the fix malfunctioned and caused “momentaries” in downtown Berkeley around 10:45 a.m.

The first outage affected the 2300 and 2400 blocks of Telegraph Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Addison Street and Bancroft Way and lasted from 2 a.m. to 3:45 a.m., according to Tamar Sarkissian, a PG&E spokeswoman.

Berkeley City College evacuated students and staff on Tuesday July 15 due to power outages. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Berkeley City College evacuated students and staff on Tuesday July 15 due to power outages. Photo: Tracey Taylor

PG&E fixed the outage by transferring power from one line to another. That led to a piece of equipment, much like a circuit breaker, to open and close, causing power outages that lasted from one second to several seconds, she said. Businesses all around downtown Berkeley reported that their power had gone out and then returned.

They are known as momentaries, said Sarkissian. They are not considered a sustained outage, although they can be inconvenient.

PG&E fixed the problem by 11 a.m. she said, although some businesses were still reporting outages after that.

BART rolled in a moving generator to keep its trains going, according to Sicilian Trevino, who witnessed it. The underground station lost most of its lights. Berkeleyside has a call into BART to get more information.

Both Berkeley City College and the YMCA were closed for a time during the outages and everyone was asked to leave, according to Andi Jones, a professor at the school.

Charlie Shaw, a community builder for NextSpace Berkeley, a co-working space in the Wells Fargo building on Center Street, said they power went out ten times this morning. The building activated its emergency generator, he said.

“All of the power would die and come back on around five seconds later,” he said. “That happened about ten times.”

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

Print Friendly
Tagged , , , , , ,
  • BBnet3000

    Aren’t momentaries more dangerous to equipment than a sustained outage? Besides going on and off repeatedly, each time power comes on youve got another chance of a surge.

  • http://berkeleyside.com Frances Dinkelspiel

    I don’t have the answer to that. The PGE spokeswoman seemed to suggest it was a minor thing to fix.

  • guest

    not sure I’d call them momentaries when they were long enough to shut off all lights and computers and the back-up generator had time to come on.

  • Rachel Hope Crossman

    I was at the YMCA, in the hot tub when the power went off. I left ASAP and went to the garage next door to get my car, then the power went off there. I did NOT want to get in the elevator when the power came back on, afraid to get stuck. But, would you believe I COULD NOT FIND THE STAIRS! Not shown on the fire map (because you can just walk out) and could not find the damn things. Did get on the elevator, made it to the 6th floor, got my car and was halfway down when another MOMENTARY happened. The attendant on duty did nothing, made no attempt to prevent people from getting into the elevator, no attempt to assist with the payment machines, which had to be reset. Don’t like the new management of the garage at Center St. and from now on, I am taking the stairs. Could have been a serious event if people had gotten stuck in the elevator, as the attendant was present, aware of the power outage, and doing zero. Surely this can’t meet city safety standards?

  • Lou

    The power went out at Trader Joe’s (University & MLK) today around 3:40. It was back on in about 20 minutes. The mass vehicular evacuation of the garage was a thing to see! Everyone was very polite, and almost all the cars were gone when the lights came back on.