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.”

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