More than 5,000 customers on the North Coast were without power Monday evening, after two separate power poles seem to have caught fire and sent the neighborhoods into darkness.
One fire in Cambria was affecting about 1,600 customers as of 9 p.m., according to PG&E spokesman Mark Mesesan, while the other in Cayucos and North Morro Bay impacted about 200. (In Cayucos and Morro Bay, a peak of 4,000 customers were briefly without power, but electricity was quickly restored to all but those last 200 in the Cayucos area.)
The Cambria outage began around 4:30 p.m., while the Cayucos outage began at 7:20 p.m.
Mesesan said in both cases, there were reports of pole fires, though the utility company is still investigating the cause.
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“What can happen after extended periods of no rain is, dust and dirt can build up on insulators and can arc when it rains, causing fires on the cross-arms and poles,” he said. “Safety is PG&E’s top priority, and we’re working to restore power to affected customers as quickly as it is safe to do so.”