BERKELEY (CBS SF) — PG&E is still trying to explain just how a squirrel managed to cause a widespread power outage after tens of thousands of people in the South Bay and East Bay were plunged into darkness Monday night because the system couldn’t handle the heat in the south, and a squirrel in the East Bay.

“Our crews on the scene told us that squirrel actually damaged one of the transformers. How that happened, I’m not going to lie to you, that’s above my pay grade,” PG&E Spokesperson Nick Smith said.

While the power has been restored, the fact that the public largely remain in the dark about exactly how and why the outages occurred fueled frustration among thousands of inconvenienced customers.

“It’s almost laughable if so many people weren’t inconvenienced. And we’re exceptionally fortunate that no one we know of died – because the ill and the elderly can get really sick when it’s as hot as it was yesterday,” PG&E customer Fernando Zazueta said

Pauline Velazquez’s father fumbled in the dark to get ready for work as crews from Oakland to San Jose scrambled to get the lights back on.

“My dad woke up at 4 a.m. to go to work and the power was off.  All of the alarm clocks had reset. The TV was turned off. The ac was turned off,” Velazquez said.

PG&E says they’re making adjustments so the power grid can better handle the surge in demand on hot days, knowing that future outages will turn up the heat on questions about their reliability.

“We want the public to know we understand how important it is to be reliable. And that’s exactly what we aim to do,” Smith said.

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