More than 6,000 PG&E customers in Berkeley lost power Tuesday night, according to community reports and the utility’s outage map online.
Berkeleyside began getting outage reports on Twitter just before 9:50 p.m. Some local residents said their power came back quickly, while others said they were still without electricity as of more than an hour later.
Local reporter Kate Wolffe was at the scene. She said on Twitter that the fire department told her there may have been an explosion in an underground vault near Hearst and McGee avenues.
Power outage in #Berkeley — fire fighters and PG&E on the scene. According to Batallion Chief Paul Cavagnaro, there seems to have been an explosion in an underground PG&E vault near Hearst/McGee Ave. No injuries reported. @KQEDnews @berkeleyside pic.twitter.com/chfC03Qka3
— Kate Wolffe (@katewolffe) May 27, 2020
According to PG&E’s outage map, power might not return until 1 a.m. Wednesday and a “PG&E assessment crew is en route to the outage.”
The PG&E website initially said there were eight outages in Berkeley affecting nearly 6,200 customers. As of about 11 p.m., the website listed 12 outages affecting more than 5,400 customers.
Local residents on Twitter tried to stay optimistic.
No news about the power out, but I just saw a shooting star https://t.co/3OnpEYvlyu
— Dorothy Hearst (@DorothyHearst) May 27, 2020
Power still out where I am. I better triage the ice cream before it perishes in the outage.
— Andrea Popa (@AndreaAppell) May 27, 2020
Sara Brooke Allan shared a video of the outage in her area.
— Sara Brooke Allan (@SaraBAllan) May 27, 2020
The outage took down the Granicus video feed of Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting and temporarily kicked two council members off the meeting Zoom broadcast. Both were able to rejoin after a brief delay, though one said she had to use a generator to do so.
One community member noted on Twitter that the burden placed on people by power outages has become more intense amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Power outages – besides just being annoying – will have a much bigger impact now, as so many folks are working from home and depending on power for internet access.
— Robin (@N6RLS) May 27, 2020
Berkeleyside will update this story if additional information becomes available.