Power outage leaves 145,000 Central Coast residents in the dark

By 12:45 a.m. Monday, PG&E had restored power to most of them

jhickey@thetribunenews.comJune 23, 2013 

UPDATE: Power was restored to most customers by 12:45 a.m. Monday, PG&E said, with the lights back on in San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria by 12:20 a.m. PG&E was restoring power gradually — 3,000 to 9,000 customers at a time.

UPDATE: About 145,000 PG&E customers from Lompoc to Cambria were left without power starting around 9:30 Sunday night due to an outage of two transmission lines in Morro Bay that feed power to the entire Central Coast, the company said.

As of 11:30 p.m. Sunday, a company official said PG&E planned to restore power to 3,000 to 9,000 customers at a time. PG&E suspected the cause was an equipment failure at a substation.

French Hospital Medical Center, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital were running on generators. “We are doing really well. All our patients are safe,” said supervisor Maria Williams of French Hospital.

Sierra Vista called in supervisory personnel and postponed one surgery, according to spokesman Ron Yukelson, who added that Twin Cities Community Hospital was not affected by the outage and was prepared to accept patients.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department was flooded with calls about the outage, but no emergencies had been reported as of 10:20 p.m. “We are holding our own,” said officer Bill Proll.

Meanwhile, citizens without flashlights emerged into the streets. In the Monterey Heights neighborhood in San Luis Obispo, young people congregated to light fireworks.

Beth Leibovich of San Luis Obispo was watching the Superman movie “Man of Steel” at Downtown Centre Cinemas in San Luis Obispo when the screen went dark, leaving only the audio during the movie’s climax.

Customers left the theater and were collecting refunds when downtown went completely dark, but people remained calm, she said. “It was really interesting, because everyone had iPhones, so everyone has a flashlight.

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