Power returns after an outage that swept the Bay Area, affecting as many as 29,000 customers in Berkeley

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A power outage swept the Bay Area Tuesday afternoon, lasting more than one hour and impacting about 38,000 customers in total, about 29,000 of which are in Berkeley.

Power was fully restored just before 3 p.m., according to PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian. Although PG&E found that the outage had originated in an El Cerrito substation, as of about 3:30 it was still investigating the exact cause of the incident.

The power outage began at about 1:45 p.m. and also impacted customers in Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland, Richmond and San Pablo, according to Sarkissian. The cause of the outage is currently under investigation, Sarkissian said, but the PG&E website listed the cause of the outage as major equipment failure, as of 3 p.m.

Most campus buildings were not impacted, according to campus spokesperson Bob Sanders. The Goldman School of Public Policy was affected, but power remained on in other campus buildings including the Valley Life Sciences Building and Sutardja Dai, Etcheverry and Soda halls.

Affected businesses on southside included Chipotle, Yogurtland and the San Francisco Soup Company. Northside businesses including Menchies, Northside Cafe and grocery stores on Euclid Avenue near Hearst Avenue were also affected, but appeared to have power restored by about 3 p.m.

Local business owners on Euclid Avenue said they had lost use of necessary tools during the outage — including razors for cutting hair, cash registers and cooking equipment.

“We apologize to the customers for this inconvenience,” Sarkissian said. “We know it’s hard to be without power.”

Many students reported also losing in some non-campus residences across the city. Many stop lights throughout the city are also without power.

The Downtown Berkeley BART station was closed as of about 2:30 p.m., but a backup generator was expected to arrive within the hour, according to BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. Trains were planned to continue to run but not stop at that station. North Berkeley and Ashby BART stations remained open during the outage, allowing passengers to get off and take AC Transit to reach the rest of Berkeley, Trost said.

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats said she did not know the total extent of the outage as of about 2 p.m.

Check back for updates.

Staff writers Bo Kovitz, Michelle Pitcher and G. Haley Massara contributed to this report

Contact Megan Messerly and Melissa Wen at [email protected].

Due to misinformation from a source, a previous version of this article said the outage originated from a substation in Berkeley. In fact, it originated from a substation in El Cerrito.