Power outage thwarts students’ daily routines

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A power outage from a failed substation cable rattled routines and disrupted studying for many students Monday night.

The outage first struck at 9:38 p.m. and affected more than 12,000 PG&E customers throughout Berkeley. Power was fully restored by 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, according to PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.

The power outage occurred at different times in different areas of Berkeley. All of Downtown Berkeley was affected, specifically the area encircled by University Avenue, Bancroft Way, Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Shattuck Avenue.

North Berkeley was also affected, particularly in the area bordered by Delaware, Cedar and Grant streets and Hawthorne Terrace. The UC Berkeley campus was not affected by the outage at all, Sarkissian said.

“We apologize for the inconvenience this caused our customers. We worked as quickly and safely as possible to restore power,” Sarkissian said.

Several people were inconvenienced as a result of the power outage last night, which included three elevator rescues, said deputy fire chief for Berkeley Fire Department Gil Dong.

“The fire department responded to several emergencies due to the power outage throughout the night,” Dong said.

The first elevator rescue occurred at 11:06 p.m. at Hotel Shattuck. The second and third elevator rescues occurred around the same time frame — one on Cedar at about 11:07 p.m. and another one on the 2300 block of Shattuck at approximately 11:19 p.m.

Berkeley Police Department also responded to several fire alarms. According to Dong, when the power shuts down, fire alarms pick that up as an alarm activation. Incidentally, power outages can activate fire alarms. Dong said he did not know the exact number of alarm activations that police and fire personnel responded to.

UC Berkeley students — many of whom are in the midst of midterm season — were also inconvenienced throughout the evening.

The outage was not as accommodating for other students. Sophomore Rabeea Abbas was returning to her apartment after a long day of midterms when the electricity went out.

“My roommate and I didn’t know what to do, since it prevented us from doing the massive amount of work we had to do,” said Abbas. “We decided to go to Moffitt (Library). We came back at 11:30 p.m., when the lights had just came back on.”

Southside residents were relatively unaffected by the outage, although some students in the area reported flickering lights at points during the night.

“I was doing financial economics homework and (the) power went out for about 10 seconds, and it came back on,” said senior Ken Mayr. “It didn’t affect me that much.”

Contact Ailya Naqvi at [email protected]

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