Squirrel-caused power outage sweeps through Berkeley, surrounding cities

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A squirrel in El Cerrito caused a power outage that affected thousands of residents in Berkeley and surrounding cities Monday evening, with reports of power loss stretching from Downtown to South Berkeley.

Power had been fully restored as of 10:30 p.m., according to a PG&E spokesperson. The outage began about 8 p.m. because of interference by a squirrel in an electrical substation in El Cerrito and affected 45,000 customers in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland, Richmond and San Pablo.

According to PG&E’s online outage map, as many as about 30,000 customers in the city and surrounding area were without power as of 9 p.m., including those in Albany and El Cerrito. Power was expected to be restored about 10:45 p.m., according to the webpage.

An alert sent from Berkeley Police Department about 8:40 p.m. indicated that lights were out at multiple intersections, in which case drivers ought to treat the intersection like one with a four-way stop sign.

During the outages, trains did not stop at the Downtown Berkeley BART station because of the power loss, according to an advisory on the BART website. 

Robert Tooke is a news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @robertono_t.