Power returning to parts of Coastside after one hour outage

Breaking news

Posted by on Tue, December 29, 2009

A downed power line in El Granada left much of the Coastside without electricity for up to an hour or more Tuesday afternoon starting at about 2:30pm

A line down near 831 Sonora Ave in El Granada left power off in all or parts of Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada and Half Moon Bay. Lights flickered before going off entirely. They returned to parts of Half Moon Bay after 20 minutes, and Montara after about an hour.

This report is based on eyewitness accounts and reports on the midcoast-l mailing list.

What was your experience this afternoon?

Comment 1
Tue, December 29, 2009 2:11pm
JB Cockrell
All my comments

Came home at 1430 to find power out. Called airport and found out power out there and that the problem was near Coral Reef and Sonora.

Drove down to see what was up. Got home at 1530 and power was on.

Power went out at 2:30 in El Granada, back on at 4:15. But just went out again at 5:45. I called the PG&E line (800-743-5002) and they weren’t aware of another outage.

...and it’s back on again. 6:03p.

Comment 4
Tue, December 29, 2009 7:13pm
Scott Boyd
All my comments

Several 3 to 5 second outages around 6PM, seemed like cutovers as circuits/devices were taken into or out of service.  I was working in my garage with tools to take apart a couple of palettes.  It sure was odd to have everything go completely dark in the middle of a swing of a mini sledge(!).

Comment 5
Wed, December 30, 2009 10:10am
Leonard Woren
All my comments

The EXACT SAME high voltage line across the street from my house, which snapped at 11:10 pm on March 30, 2009, snapped again in the EXACT SAME spot at 2:30 pm on December 29, 2009.  There was no wind at either time.

[This comment is a copy of a reply I posted on the Midcoast-L discussion email list yesterday evening, hence the references to “today” here are in fact references to yesterday.]

“Doing the same thing over and over again expecting the results to be different is the definition of insanity.” —Albert Einstein

This line which snapped today was exactly 8 months old.

The following two paragraphs are part of what I posted on Midcoast-L that next morning back in March:

When are we going to get past the whining about the one-time cost of undergrounding and consider the long-term and hidden costs, which are much higher over the long haul?  Penny-wise pound-foolish to keep up these disgusting overhead wires.  Why are people willing to pay 6 digits for an ocean view but not a percent or two of that to underground the wires?

This could have been much worse.  The wires may have or could have fallen into the dense riparian area and there could have been a brush fire.  Considering the sparks I saw, it’s lucky that didn’t happen.

This time it happened at 2:30 pm.  One of these days someone is going to be standing under an overhead line that snaps and get seriously injured or killed.  (This is a 5,000 or 12,000 volt line.)  I have photos of it draped over fences etc in front of people’s houses. After someone is injured or killed then I guess people will be willing to spend the money to permanently solve the problem.  It’s a piddly amount of money compared to what people spend to buy houses here.

My answering machine got damaged even though it’s on a UPS.  Since I went out later and just recently got back, I don’t know yet what else may be damaged.

My power was out for 3.5 hours—the longest outage here.  For those wondering why different areas had different outage times, here’s the play-by-play.  After 15 years of this garbage I’m intimately familiar with this playbook.
<li>Line snaps.</li>
<li>I call PG&E.  (I tell the guy it’s across the street.  He wastes time asking me if I have any dogs or locked gates.  What part of “across the street” applies to that question?)  This “line down” call took more than 5 minutes to complete.</li>
<li>PG&E eventually sends someone out.  Took them half an hour after my “line down” call to arrive on site.  Guess how long it takes them to arrive when it’s not an emergency.  Good thing the fire department and the sheriffs got here in a few minutes after the neighbor’s 911 call.</li>
<li>PG&E crew looks around, decides, “yeah, there’s a problem”.</li>
<li>PG&E crew calls for more crew.</li>
<li>PG&E crew pulls the switches at the north end of the 800 block of Sonora, and at the south end of the 700 block of Sonora.</li>
<li>Re-route power to feed Moss Beach and Montara from Pacifica.</li>
<li>Reset the switches to allow re-energizing the rest of the grid south of here.</li>
<li>Stand around for half an hour discussing something.</li>
<li>Leave for half an hour to an hour.  (I kid you not.  I have photos.)</li>
<li>Come back and spend half an hour fixing it.</li>
<li>Variation in play today:  They dawdled for so long that it started raining and now they were stringing high voltage lines and throwing high voltage switches in the rain.  [Today a neighbor suggested that the reason they take so long is so that they’ll be on overtime.]</li>
<li>Start at the far end throwing the circuit switches back on.</li>
<li>The 700/800 blocks of Sonora are always without power the longest whenever there is a problem anywhere in El Granada.</li>


Leonard, can I come to your place of work, observe…moreover ASSUME, then publicly post my summation thereof? I’ll be sure to throw in a few “looks around, decides, “yeah, there’s a problem”.” and “Stand around for half an hour discussing something” and “Leave for half an hour to an hour” (which was it,... 30 min or 60 min?, I’ll be sure to have my stopwatch in tow with you), and bookended by “wastes time” and “dawdled for so long”. I do appreciate (and agree) on the undergrounding of power lines, but unfortunately that helps to fertilize the infrastructure egg for the chicken of population growth here on the coast.

Guessing you are already a foremost expert on power matters, and can armchair quarterback a local utility on the folly in fastening of ethylene propylene diene M-class-based infrastructure… coulda saved you the failed HTML list item tags and written the foreword for you. <woren>Big gov’t saddled with protocol.</woren>

I get the blame for Leonard’s html problem.  It took me a while to diagnose, but my list of safe html got nuked in my most recent software upgrade.

This has now been fixed.