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Fire Causes ‘Major’ Power Outage for Oakland, Alameda

Written by The Standard StaffPublished Feb. 19, 2023 • 2:08pm
Two PG&E SmartMeters on a Berkeley residence | Adobe Stock

UPDATE: PG&E restored power to all of its East Bay customers who were affected by the outage as of 4:31 p.m. Monday, according to a tweet sent by Tamar Sarkissian, a company spokesperson. Sarkissian said PG&E will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the blackout.

Large swaths of Oakland, Alameda and parts of Alameda County are without power Sunday after a PG&E substation caught fire, leaving 50,000 customers without electricity.

The fire has been put out and some drawbridge access in Alameda has been restored, officials said.

PG&E said crews are addressing the outage and power is expected to be restored by 2:25 a.m. Monday, according to a PG&E text message alert.

PG&E confirmed that the cause of the outage is due to a fire at a substation near the intersection of 50th Avenue and Coliseum Way.

A map of the East Bay power outage | PG&E

"The safety of our customers and employees is our most important responsibility. We are aware of the large outage in Oakland impacting approximately 50,000 customers," a PG&E spokesperson said. "The cause of the outage is a transformer fire within the substation, and we are working closely with fire officials to make the situation safe. We will provide more information on the timing of restoration once we have those details."

First responders extinguished the fire at approximately 2:30 p.m., and there were no hazmat or evacuation concerns, the Oakland Fire Department announced on Twitter.

The power outage also caused two drawbridges in Alameda to be stuck half open, causing traffic problems off the island. A spokesperson for the city told the Standard that the Hight Street Bridge had reopened, but that the Fruitvale Bridge was still closed as of 4:30 p.m. today.

Meanwhile, travelers at Oakland International Airport reported that security check-in was "at a standstill" earlier today. A spokesperson for the airport told the Standard that power was restored at the airport at 2:50 p.m. today and that Terminal 1 has one open security lane and Terminal 2 has two open security lanes.

Service on the Oakland Airport Connector stopped earlier today due to the power outage, but BART was able to restore limited service on the line as of 2:30 p.m., with shuttles departing every 18 minutes.

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