News

Power outage affects about 2,000 customers in Palo Alto

Service disruption impacts Old Palo Alto, Ventura neighborhoods

Hundreds of Palo Alto Utilities customers lost power due to an outage around 9 p.m. on April 13, 2021. Courtesy Palo Alto Utilities.

About 2,000 Palo Alto Utilities customers lost power for nearly three hours Tuesday night due to an outage caused by a failed cable line, according to the city's Utilities spokesperson.

The outage started around 9 p.m. for customers in the Old Palo Alto and Ventura neighborhoods and those along the southern end of Middlefield Road, Utilities Communications Manager Catherine Elvert said.

The city's electric outage map shows service was disrupted at 9:03 p.m. for about 1,241 customers in a section that includes the Ventura neighborhood and another 602 customers in an area that includes the Old Palo Alto neighborhood. Another 264 customers near Stanford University were reported to have lost power at 9:02 p.m.

A failed cable line between some circuits triggered the outage, Elvert said. Sevice was restored to all customers at about 11:45 p.m.

The city has seen two other large outages over the past three weeks. On March 27, about 7,000 customers lost power after an undetermined problem at the Park Boulevard substation. On April 4, about 600 customers were affected by an outage caused by a blown transformer in the Crescent Park neighborhood, according to the Utilities Department.

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Power outage affects about 2,000 customers in Palo Alto

Service disruption impacts Old Palo Alto, Ventura neighborhoods

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Apr 13, 2021, 9:41 pm
Updated: Wed, Apr 14, 2021, 8:24 am

About 2,000 Palo Alto Utilities customers lost power for nearly three hours Tuesday night due to an outage caused by a failed cable line, according to the city's Utilities spokesperson.

The outage started around 9 p.m. for customers in the Old Palo Alto and Ventura neighborhoods and those along the southern end of Middlefield Road, Utilities Communications Manager Catherine Elvert said.

The city's electric outage map shows service was disrupted at 9:03 p.m. for about 1,241 customers in a section that includes the Ventura neighborhood and another 602 customers in an area that includes the Old Palo Alto neighborhood. Another 264 customers near Stanford University were reported to have lost power at 9:02 p.m.

A failed cable line between some circuits triggered the outage, Elvert said. Sevice was restored to all customers at about 11:45 p.m.

The city has seen two other large outages over the past three weeks. On March 27, about 7,000 customers lost power after an undetermined problem at the Park Boulevard substation. On April 4, about 600 customers were affected by an outage caused by a blown transformer in the Crescent Park neighborhood, according to the Utilities Department.

Comments

Pei Tsieu
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2021 at 7:21 am
Pei Tsieu, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 7:21 am

These power outages are occuring too frequently and create other subsequent problems.

During the last blackout, the food in our freezer thawed and we had to dispose of it to ensure safety measures.

Can one file a claim with the Palo Alto Utilities Department for reimbursement of spoiled food?

With these added expenditures and inconveniences, one can barely afford to live in Palo Alto anymore.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:02 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:02 am

These are much too common, on average one per week lately. No adverse weather conditions and all seem to have been evenings or weekends.

We get excuses such as problems at a substation, but are never told about the type of problem, such as software, hardware, or human error.

We are customers who have no choice in who supplies this service. We are encouraged to get rid of gas for cooking, heating and to buy electric vehicles. We know that people are working from home/schooling from home/zooming from home for community and legal meetings, etc. We deserve and expect a reliable power source to do all this.

Our power is unreliable. This is not acceptable.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:54 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:54 am

A friend caring for her 98-year-old mother was fuming this morning! Still no answers from the city! And she detailed the issues that many of us never thought about:

*the failure of the electric stair lift so she couldn't get her mother back to bed!

* the lack of heat in the house for hours so she had to bundle up her mother under lots of blankets

* having NO idea from the city why this outage happened or how long it would last

* her sheer fury of our hot having gotten answers about the Easter outage. And/or many other things of concern to the people who live here!

She's a life-long PA resident and she's furious that the town's come to this!


Lauren P.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2021 at 9:32 am
Lauren P., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 9:32 am

>> people are working from home/schooling from home/zooming from home for community and legal meetings, etc. We deserve and expect a reliable power source to do all this.

^ I lost three hours of real-time spreadsheet accounting for the 2020 tax season when my desktop system went down.

And in retrospect (aka 20/20 hindsight) while I should have been backing-up my files, the shutdown will result in lost billable hours as my clients are only concerned about the final reports, not PA utilities-related incompetencies, oversights, operational errors, zapped squirrels or fallen tree branches.

Customer rebates and damage claims are in order.

Or perhaps the city should provide every residency and business in Palo Alto with a free AC generator to cover these now all-too-common electrical blackouts.

This is Palo Alto not some 3rd-world country or an area regularly beset by blizzards, hurricanes, and tornados.


Sorry to hear this
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2021 at 10:05 am
Sorry to hear this, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 10:05 am

At the very least you'd think they'd update us in time on the PA Utilities twitter account. Last post is four days old: Web Link


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 14, 2021 at 10:32 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 10:32 am

CPAU and the City Attorney are very very busy -- trying to figure out how to use OUR tax dollars to appeal the $12,000,000 settlement due us in the Miriam Green class action suit against their repeated practice of "overcharging" us to to funnel yet more money into the General Fund so they can hire more consultants to tell us why electric power is SO much better, For them! (And so much more expensive than natural gas which adds even more to their coffers.)

Every year for the past 5+ years CPAU has "overcharged" us $20,000,000. I guess that's just not enough for them to provide reliable customer service WHILE they continue their delusional and COSTLY quest to provide Fiber-to-The-Home and compete with the big boys like AT&T!

Our tax dollars at work!


Sidney Rothstein
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:13 am
Sidney Rothstein, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:13 am

Cite your grievances and file a class-action suit against the City of Palo Alto.


Aletheia
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:25 am
Aletheia, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:25 am

So I guess PAU is not accountable to anyone. No explanation in this case except for a "failed cable." What about what caused the failure? How will failures like that be prevented in the future? Was it due to poor maintenance? A mylar baloon? Squirrels? Covid? It's good to be a public utility. Just keep your mouth shut and pay your bill.


Justine Paul
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:54 am
Justine Paul, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:54 am

The real reason: There are too many residents in Palo Alto now and the electrical grid is being overworked and overextended.

We never had these recurrent problems back in the 1950s through late 1970s.

Sometimes I wish everyone who has lived in Palo Alto since 1990 would just disappear and go away.




Green Gables
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2021 at 12:28 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 12:28 pm

You all need to contact the City Council members; they are working for residents in Palo Alto.


NPAresident
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2021 at 12:48 pm
NPAresident, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 12:48 pm

At the very least, a text message from PAU to affected households listing the extent of the outage and informing us that power will be restored within XX hours could easily be done. Only our landline worked and PAU had "no information."


Brian
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Apr 14, 2021 at 2:07 pm
Brian, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 2:07 pm

Now Xfinity TV and Internet are out. Projected to be resolved by 10 pm.


Aron Weisberg
Registered user
another community
on Apr 14, 2021 at 3:34 pm
Aron Weisberg, another community
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 3:34 pm

I was house-sitting a friend's house in PA and not able to operate the microwave.

As a result, I went hungry that evening as the take-out restaurants were also without power.

And the milk in the refrigerator was no longer cold so I could not even eat a decent bowl of Cheerios.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2021 at 8:58 am
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Apr 15, 2021 at 8:58 am

My power was out almost all day a couple of weeks ago, for "scheduled" maintenance. I was supposed to get a notice, but of course I didn't. It's like the city only pretends to do work these days--but their paychecks are all too real. Things are sliding downhill fast.


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