A power outage in San Francisco Friday affected about 90,000 customers, from the Financial District to the Presidio, according to the San Francisco of Department of Emergency Management. The outage — likely caused by a fire at a PG&E substation — started around 9 a.m.
As of 3:30 p.m., only about 3,000 customers were without power, according to PG&E, and it was fully restored a little after 5 p.m.
A circuit breaker failed at a Pacific Gas and Electric substation at Larkin and Eddy streets, causing an electrical fire. At 9:30 a.m. San Francisco emergency dispatchers were notified that there was a fire at the substation, according to San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White. Insulation at the substation caught fire, and continued to reignite until the Fire Department could bring a carbon dioxide unit to help put out the blaze.
PG&E Vice President of Electric Distribution Barry D. Anderson said earlier that the utility was aiming to restore power to all customers by 5 p.m.
No one was harmed in the fire and there was limited damage to the electrical facilities, according to PG&E spokesman Donald Cutler.
No injuries were reported as a result of the power outage.
PG&E is working to upgrade the midcentury substation by 2018, said Anderson. On Dec. 11, 2014, the entire Larkin substation lost power due to cable and equipment failures leading to outages for about 80,000 customers, according to a PG&E report.
The California Public Utilities Commission has confirmed it is investigating the outage.
Hospitals, Schools and Transit Affected by Outage
As of 11:30 a.m. California Pacific Medical Center’s two San Francisco campuses and St. Francis Hospital remained open and were operating off backup generators. Any new patients were being rerouted to other operational hospitals in the city. CPMC also canceled all elective surgeries.
Several hospitals had surgeries as the power failed. However, backup generators allowed them to smoothly continue the operations, said Thomas Chin, the director of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management.
At 11:40 a.m. BART and Muni resumed service at Montgomery Station after having kept the station closed for several hours.
beep beep!* We are back open at Montgomery station! Normal service has resumed through DTSF. Thank you for your patience.
A BART spokeswoman said the agency decided to close its station because there was not enough light in the area.
The outage also shut down Muni’s cable car lines, and they were replaced by shuttles.
“It’s a little scary because it sounds like it’s pretty widespread,” said Jane Bloom of San Carlos, who was delayed by the power outage while traveling on BART. “It’s crazy out there because of the cars. Nobody’s stopping at the lights. But everyone around seems to be OK. People seem to be calm.”
The San Francisco Unified School District said 21 schools were affected, though all remained open. Statewide tests at several of the schools were interrupted, and will need to be rescheduled. Families would be notified if something changed at their child’s school, said SFUSD spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.
Schools affected by the outage included: Civic Center, Alamo, Cobb, Galileo, Marina, George Peabody, Presidio, Redding, Rosa Parks, Spring Valley, Sutro, Tenderloin, Wallenberg, Sherman, Francisco, Claire Lilienthal, S.F. Montessori and Tule Elk.
Many traffic lights were impacted, and some local businesses closed.
This map shows areas that were affected by the power outage. The San Francisco Police Department also tweeted the map to show residents.
@SFBART Montgomery station down b/c of power outage – traffic lights and pedestrian signals also out for many city blocks.
We’re hit with the #sanfrancisco #poweroutage here at #pier39. We hope to be back up and running We’ll let you know
SF #PowerOutage totally surreal
The Associated Press and Mariana Urban contributed to this report.