Updated ALAMEDA, OAKLAND EXPERIENCE BLACKOUTS; OUTAGES COULD CONTINUE THIS EVENING
A trio of outages left all of Alameda without power for about an hour Sunday, and the outages could continue through tonight as the problem that caused them is being fixed, a local power company representative warned.
Alameda Municipal Power’s Bill Garvine said a problem with high-voltage transmission lines that deliver power led to the outages, which included a two-minute outage at 1:59 p.m., a nine-minute outage at 2:02 p.m. and a more than 45-minute outage at 6:29 p.m. And he said the outages extended into Oakland, parts of which have been without power since shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, something others also reported to The Island on Sunday (Update: KTVU is reporting that 15,000 customers in Oakland are without power and that PG&E was still working to restore it as of 8:30 p.m.).
He said the latest outage was caused by workers trying to fix the problem that caused the earlier outages – a problem that hasn’t yet been identified. And Garvine said outages could continue into tonight.
“PG&E alerted AMP that repair efforts may result in further service interruptions tonight,” Garvine said.
Media representatives for PG&E didn’t return calls Sunday.
Alameda Municipal Power delivers electricity to residents and business owners on the Island, but electricity deregulation put a state agency in charge of California’s transmission lines. Garvine said the lines are maintained by different power companies, including Pacific Gas & Electric.
The outages led the Main Library to evacuate and close and emptied out the Alameda Theatre, dimmed traffic lights and left residents and workers huddled by emergency lights and candles all over Alameda.
Some took advantage of the outage, though: Diners at Angela’s Bistro & Bar were enjoying a candlelight meal Sunday evening, and others who checked in with The Island here and on Facebook used the occasion for a little quiet family time.
“My 17 year old commented that we should have these regularly! She liked painting nails by flash light and talking!” Diana Kenney wrote on The Island’s Facebook page.
Alameda Fire Division Chief Ricci Zombeck said his department was all over the Island on Sunday checking on alarms set off by the outages – and people trapped in elevators when the power went out.He said he was told there could be another outage when PG&E fixes the problem.
“We had a lot of those today,” Zombeck said of the elevator calls.
Zombeck also offered safety tips in the event additional outages do occur. He said that people using candles should be careful not to leave them unattended, to keep them at least a foot away from anything that could catch fire and to not use them in a bedroom – where users are more likely to fall asleep – at all. Zombeck suggested people have battery-powered light sources on hand instead.
He also warned against using anything powered by propane, butane or charcoal inside a residence or office for heat. “(Get some) warm blankets and you get through the night,” Zombeck said.
He said people should have an emergency kit on hand with food and water for an outage or any other unforeseen emergency – and that they should consider staying home until an outage passes.
“It’s best to just ride it out at home through the night,” Zomebck said.