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Power outage leaves about 3,000 customers in the dark

Original post made on Apr 1, 2019

About 3,000 Palo Alto Utilities customers are without electricity due to a power outage in the city's Midtown area this afternoon.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 1, 2019, 1:11 PM

Comments (34)

11 people like this
Posted by Jen
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:33 pm

Also comcast/xfinity our since earlier this AM. Any connection?


4 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Como Esta is open! Closed: Safeway, philz, bills, wine and spirits, aj laundry


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Some traffic signals out, some are on.
Avoid Embarcadero Rd
Some businesses just went out as - AJ Green Cleaners literally as I stood there so maybe a rolling blackout?


Like this comment
Posted by Shingo
a resident of Barron Park School
on Apr 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm

Comcast, ATT, and any other Home wifi is also down, Local Starbucks and any coffeehouses and donuts shops are also left without WiFi.


9 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Three power outages were 12:30-1:25, 1:35-1:40, and 1:53-1:55.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 1, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Thanks @Frank. Must be an interesting process for utilities to restore power and investigate the cause. Have you tracked earlier incidents in the past few months? Searching PA Online for "power outage" I find Dec-1, Jan-16, and Feb-23. @Shingo, the battery in my UPS (uninterruptible power supply) keeps my home wifi operational. Still took me awhile to find any information on this outage.


1 person likes this
Posted by inky
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 2:42 pm

i did not experience any at&t dsl outage. ups power kept the dsl box powered on and voip service was ok


Like this comment
Posted by nat
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 3:35 pm

We have AT&T for wi-fi. No problem except when electricity is off. The power came on and then went off a number of times. It is 3:33pm now and I'm hoping the power stays on this time.

No Comcast TV all day. I'm glad we don't have Comcast for wi-fi!


2 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 1, 2019 at 3:49 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

My internet and TV just came back on about a minute ago.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Palo Alto Utilities posted this on Nextdoor at about 4:30pm:

"Power has been restored for almost all customers now. Approximately 3,400 customers were initially affected by a power outage that began around 12:30pm. The outage was caused by a loose or bad connection in an underground vault. Most customers had electric service restored by around 4pm. A few customers will remain without power while the crew makes necessary repairs. This work is estimated to be complete by 7pm. Please call our Electric Operations Dispatch at 650-496-6914 if you need any further updates on power service at your home. Thank you for your patience as crews worked as quickly as possible to restore service."

Other recent power failures have been due to mylar balloons, blown transformers, and trees falling on power lines.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 4:48 pm

This news report says "About 30,000 Comcast customers in Palo Alto are reporting intermittent service outages after a construction crew hit utility wires on Monday afternoon. The outage is affecting both Comcast services and power service in the city. Comcast spokeswoman Joan Hammel said a third-party crew hit the wires while digging at East Charleston and Middlefield roads."

Web Link

They don't say whose construction crew this was.


2 people like this
Posted by Catherine Elvert
a resident of University South
on Apr 1, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Clarification to this story: the power outage in Palo Alto today was unrelated to any Comcast work or technical issues. The power outage was caused by damaged equipment in an underground electrical vault at a different location than where construction may have impacted Comcast service. Power service for almost all Palo Alto Utilities customers has been restored as of 4pm. A few customers will remain without power until around 7pm tonight while crews make necessary repairs. Palo Alto Utilities online outage map: www.cityofpaloalto.org/outagemap


4 people like this
Posted by Lee The
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:15 pm

Comcast VOIP telephones were also down.


10 people like this
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:38 pm

Still without power. Food in freezer thawing. Must throw out.

Will Palo Alto reimburse me for lost groceries?


12 people like this
Posted by Lawsuit
a resident of Portola Valley
on Apr 1, 2019 at 8:38 pm

This is unacceptable. As someone who runs their company from home, I couldn’t get any work done. I will be suing for reimbursement for lost earnings. It’s ridiculous


8 people like this
Posted by YGTBK!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 9:17 pm

I trust *Lawsuit's comment is an April Fool's joke.
Else *Lawsuit is an April Fool.


2 people like this
Posted by Cat Mom Leonorilda
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2019 at 9:34 pm

Cat Mom Leonorilda is a registered user.

This is what happens when 3rd-party contractors working for private interests are not regulated and allowed to do whatever... to the detriment of others. The private interests who paid these contractors are going to make their profits, no matter what. The disturbance these contractors inflicted will not be repaid to the "losing parties" by the private interests. Too bad it "has" to be this way!


22 people like this
Posted by Replacement Costs
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 2, 2019 at 12:32 pm

> Will Palo Alto reimburse me for lost groceries?

You must go to City Hall & present an inventory list of spoiled foodstuffs. Having grocery store receipts will help to expedite your claim.

Homemade goods damaged in the freezer are more problematic as there are seldom individual store receipts for the separate ingredients. For this you must provide a recipe stating the materials used.

There is a 10 day statute of limitations so act quickly.


4 people like this
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 3, 2019 at 8:36 pm

>> You must go to City Hall & present an inventory list of spoiled foodstuffs. Having grocery store receipts will help to expedite your claim.

I went to City Hall today with list and sample of spoiled freezer goods. They say I must address City Council meeting on one of first three Mondays of month for further consideration and possible reimbursement.

Do I ask for mayor and will he write check?


24 people like this
Posted by Replacement Costs
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm

> They say I must address City Council meeting on one of first three Mondays of month for further consideration and possible reimbursement.

> Do I ask for mayor and will he write check?


From the Palo Alto City Council web page:

"The Council encourages citizen participation. The Council agenda includes a period of Oral Communications, at which time the public may comment on any subject within the subject matter jurisdiction of the City that is not included on the agenda. Council Members do not enter into discussion or debate with speakers under Oral Communications. The presiding officer may ask the City Manager to respond at a later date."


The Brown Act of 1953 (California Government Code 54950) guarantees the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.

You might also consider emailing members of the City Council & the City Attorney to express your concerns. Be sure to include pertinent photos of your spoiled freezer food as attachments & include all verifiable sales receipts along with recipes citing their usage as key ingredients.


Like this comment
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2019 at 7:03 pm

>> Council Members do not enter into discussion or debate with speakers under Oral Communications.

Since City Council cannot enter into Oral Communications with citizen of Palo Alto, am I allowed to speak in Mandarin? .

Email with pictures is probably good idea.


20 people like this
Posted by Retired Attorney
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2019 at 6:28 pm

"Since City Council cannot enter into Oral Communications with citizen of Palo Alto, am I allowed to speak in Mandarin?"

Probably not a good idea as I suspect the PACC members are not fluent in your native language.

One possibility would be to enlist the services of a simultaneous interpreter to present your case regarding spoiled foodstuffs to the City Council.

You will need to document your case citing references from the state/county Public Health Departments, Center For Disease Control & perhaps some letters from microbiologists who are knowledgeable on potential food poisoning causes & their aftermath. Contact Stanford.

Enlisting the services of a personal injury attorney is also advisable but chances are you will have had to have gotten deathly ill or hospitalized to recover full restitutive damages.

This sounds like a small claims court issue but if the Palo City Council will remunerate you for your losses then all is well.

If you have a flair for the dramatic during Open Communications, you could also offer to serve the councilmembers some of your suspected spoiled foodstuffs. If they refuse to partake in them, document it for your upcoming litigation as evidence that even they have acknowledged the possibility of food spoilage.







14 people like this
Posted by Expediting Your Claim
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm

> "The presiding officer may ask the City Manager to respond at a later date."

You might even consider scheduling an appointment with the City Manager prior to the City Council meeting so he will have an advance awareness of this issue.

Bring your spoiled foodstuffs to his office along with any pertinent documentation (e.g. sales receipts) & perhaps he will be able to accommodate your concerns.

I would also suggest that the head of the PA Municipal Public Utilities Department sit in on this meeting.


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 6, 2019 at 3:05 pm

I'll take 99% reliability at my current electricity billing rate rather than 99.999% reliability at ten times the rate. If the extra percent is so critical, it's cheaper to buy a small gasoline powered generator.


Like this comment
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2019 at 6:16 pm

> This sounds like a small claims court issue but if the Palo City Council will remunerate you for your losses then all is well.

Must go to San Jose to file civil proceeding. Court Clerk said only criminal cases held in Palo Alto.


> You might even consider scheduling an appointment with the City Manager prior to the City Council meeting so he will have an advance awareness of this issue.

> Bring your spoiled foodstuffs to his office along with any pertinent documentation (e.g. sales receipts) & perhaps he will be able to accommodate your concerns.

Hopefully so. Spoiled food currently in ice chest and starting to smell bad. If City Manager have reluctance to eat it, then he should acknowledge claim.


12 people like this
Posted by Expediting Your Claim
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 9, 2019 at 12:55 pm

@Ming Le
Thank you for taking a stand on this unfortunate incident.

I am quite sure that others have experienced a similar situation but are wary of bringing it to PACC or City Hall's immediate attention.

A friend who resides in Midtown also encountered some potentially spoiled freezer food due to the extended electrical blackout.

As a result, he & his family had to eat thawed frozen chili & spaghetti sauce for several days in order to prevent having to discard them.

I would stand firm. Address the PACC if you must & then schedule an appointment with the City Manager. Be sure to bring your spoiled food!

A small claims court proceeding in San Jose should be your last resort but may be your best chance at remuneration. Chances are the City of PA will ignore the court summons and you will win by default.


Like this comment
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Neighbor said to also place claim with homeowner's insurance. I call AAA and there is $500.00 deductible.

Better to go after City Hall and City Manager for reimbursement.

Do not like to waste food. Neighbor said when he was child, his parents always made him finish dinner saying people starving in China.

He said he told parents he didn't know that people in China ate brussels sprouts.

I told him we don't but bad to waste food even if it doesn't taste good.


8 people like this
Posted by Liver + Brussels Sprouts = Ugh
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 12, 2019 at 5:55 pm

The worst dinner known to man...fried beef/calves liver with brussels sprouts on the side. Just thinking about it triggers my gag reflex.

My parents use to serve that up every now & then and it was a pleasure/escape to go to bed without eating dinner.


8 people like this
Posted by Bio-Recycling Of Distasteful Food Items
a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm

> bad to waste food even if it doesn't taste good.

^^^ which is why every Palo Alto residency should be allowed to keep one billy-goat.

This would also help curb our recyclable problems.


Like this comment
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 15, 2019 at 5:56 pm

^^^ which is why every Palo Alto residency should be allowed to keep one billy-goat.

And when goat gets old, then you can eat it. That's what my Greek neighbor says.


Like this comment
Posted by Bio-Recycling Of Distasteful Food Items
a resident of University South
on Apr 16, 2019 at 12:44 pm

> And when goat gets old, then you can eat it. That's what my Greek neighbor says.

@Ming Le

An old goat like an old chicken/rooster is very tough & requires slow cooking (i.e. stewing or slow barbecue) to make it tender enough for enjoyable eating.

I would advise sending an old goat to a state Correctional facility & have them serve it to the inmates as most of them do not deserve any better.

In Hollister, a friend & I shoot feral pigs that have gone wild & are tearing up the local vegetation. We then deliver them to state prisons for their kitchen commissary needs/uses.

If you've ever had a wild pig/boar well all I can say is a leather wallet is probably a lot more tender...but for prisoners, who cares?


10 people like this
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2019 at 7:12 pm

> An old goat like an old chicken/rooster is very tough & requires slow cooking (i.e. stewing or slow barbecue) to make it tender enough for enjoyable eating.

Eating goat is not a part of traditional Chinese cooking/cuisine...more Middle Eastern & Greek.

Cooking old chicken OK. Especially if in-laws coming over for dinner.


8 people like this
Posted by Bio-Recycling Of Distasteful Food Items
a resident of University South
on Apr 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

> Eating goat is not a part of traditional Chinese cooking/cuisine...more Middle Eastern & Greek.

There is a goat-eating cult called F.O.G. in the SF Bay Area. Calling them epicurean would probably be a stretch of the imagination but to each his/her own.

Web Link

Most of the restaurants they recommend are of Middle Eastern or Mexican origin.

Goat meat has a certain gaminess to it...I sampled some once at a Middle Eastern backyard get together & I most certainly can live without it.

The same goes for mutton (an old sheep) which was also served that day. *ugh*

Couldn't wash that horrid taste out of my mouth no matter how much wine and/or I drank!


2 people like this
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm

> Goat meat has a certain gaminess to it...

The only goat I encounter is mother-in-law who feels her daughter could have married someone better than me.


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