Power outage caused by squirrel affects more than 5,800 customers in Berkeley

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Maya Elbaz/Staff

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Update 5/17/18: This story has been updated to reflect new information from PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian. 

More than 5,800 Berkeley PG&E customers were affected by a power outage this morning, as first reported by a Berkeley Patch alert.

According to PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian, the outage started at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday morning. At its peak, 5,861 customers lost power, but the number was down to 27 customers by 8:30 a.m. As of 12:25 p.m., power was restored to the remaining customers, and the outage was completely over.

Sarkissian said the cause of the outage was a squirrel that made contact with electrical equipment, causing an overhead transformer failure.

PG&E first received a call about the outage from the 1800 block of Delaware Street, but it was apparent that the outage was “more widespread,” with reports coming from the 1300 block of Shattuck Avenue, the 1100 block of Spruce Street and the 1500 block of Walnut Street, Sarkissian later noted.

Sarkissian added that if customers see a low or downed power line, they should assume it is live, stay away and call 911 immediately.

Revati Thatte is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.