PG&E says equipment problems are to blame for a massive power outage that affected nearly 6,000 customers across Sonoma County late Tuesday into Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman for the utility.
In the area’s largest outage, more than 5,000 customers in Rohnert Park lost power shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday. However, power was restored throughout the area by 3 a.m., said PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras.
The outage was caused by an underground cable failure, she said.
In Healdsburg, about two dozen residences and businesses had no power Wednesday morning after a tree fell into a power line on West Side Road around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The outage initially zapped power for 219 PG&E customers in Healdsburg, but most of them saw electricity come back on by 11:30 p.m., Contreras said.
A PG&E crew was working to repair the line early Wednesday. By 9 a.m., power was fully restored in Healdsburg.
In Sonoma, 32 of the utility’s customers had no power on Wednesday because of scheduled maintenance, Contreras said. PG&E restore electricity there by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
In Cotati, 731 customers lost power Tuesday night after an underground transformer failed. PG&E crews fixed the transformer and restored power by 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to Contreras.
PG&E is bracing for more outages this week that could come with the extreme heat forecast for most of Sonoma County and the rest of the Bay Area, Contreras said.
A flex alert, which asks customers to voluntarily conserve power, is in place until Thursday. Californians are encouraged to minimize their electricity consumption from 5 to 10 p.m.
People can take steps such as, keeping thermostats no lower than 78 degrees, closing shades and opening windows to let cool air circulate through their homes.
High temperatures in the region are expected to range from the low 90s to the low 100s from Wednesday through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The hottest locations could see high temperatures reach 110 degrees on Thursday and Friday, while offshore winds are expected to keep the coast cooler, meteorologists said.
“With multiple days of heat, we could see more heat-related outages,” Contreras said, noting that underground electric equipment is especially vulnerable to failures during hot weather because it does not cool off as quickly as overhead equipment.
PG&E is targeting Thursday as the most likely day for blackouts. As a result, the utility is bulking up staffing in Santa Rosa on Thursday in order to more quickly respond to equipment problems in the area, according to Contreras.
“We want our customers to be prepared,” she said. No preemptive power shutoffs are planned.
Staff Writer Colin Atagi contributed to this report.
You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at email@example.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.
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