Power Surge Causes Outage, Damage In East Palo Alto

EAST PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Fewer than a dozen homes remain without power in East Palo Alto on Friday afternoon after a power surge Thursday night caused an outage.

Power lines were damaged when a tree branch fell shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday, causing an unusual high-voltage power surge. The lines have been repaired and reenergized. Power has been restored to all but a handful of homes, and PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said work crews are waiting until residents return to the remaining homes so that meters and circuit panels can be inspected for possible damage.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

PG&E shut down power to about 232 customers in the Peninsula city last night after the unusual power surge, caused when the branch made contact with a neutral ground line as well as power lines.

“It’s actually very uncommon,” Molica said of the surge. “We’re doing an investigation to see why it occurred.”

At 4:03 a.m., power lines also came down across a portion of U.S. Highway 101, adding to the power issues in the area. Those lines were cleared by 5 a.m.

The surge caused damage to some meters, but Molica said the damage was not related to the installation of new SmartMeters.

“A voltage surge can damage anything, whether it’s mechanical or digital,” Molica said.

Customers who suffered damage as a result of the power surge are being encouraged to file claims for reimbursement from PG&E. A form can be found online at www.pge.com.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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