Lights are going back on and refrigerators are whirring again as parts of Berkeley get their power back.
Around 5 p.m. Thursday a number of residents in the hills and North Berkeley told Berkeleyside that their power had been restored, after one day of darkness in the parts of the city affected by PG&E’s “public safety power shutoff.” However some others said power wasn’t back in their immediate neighborhoods.
The city of Berkeley also sent out an alert saying it had “received multiple reports” of power coming back around 5 p.m. as well. “PG&E has not confirmed complete restoration,” the alert said.
Later, at a 6 p.m. press conference, PG&E executives said power has been restored to 31% of the customers affected throughout Northern California, but didn’t drill down to the county or city level.
PG&E had always said it would begin restoration Thursday afternoon, and as of 3 p.m. had initiated that process in Alameda County. But the utility repeatedly warned that it could take several days for residents to see the effects. Crews have to inspect and potentially repair all power sources — in all 30-some counties included in the shutoff — before turning them back on.
The utility’s website still said that Alameda County was dark at 5 p.m. One reader in the Oakland Hills said they’re still lacking power.
UC Berkeley said the campus was still without power late Thursday afternoon too. Around 5:53 p.m. the university announced it was canceling classes for Friday, the third day in a row. Campus officials encouraged people to stay away from university buildings so as not to put additional strain on the university’s back up generators and supplemental power supplies. Some parts of the university might open for research and events in the evening.
The city of Berkeley also said the “red flag warning for high fire danger” was lifted around 5 p.m.
Update 6:20 p.m.: This article was updated after publication to report that classes at UC would be canceled Friday.