MERCED — A massive power blackout affected Merced County early Sunday.
Roughly 59,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers went without power for a few hours because of an interruption in a main transmission line, according to PG&E officials.
The malfunction took place just before 7 a.m. at the Wilson Substation, east of Merced near Highway 140, said Jana Morris, PG&E spokeswoman.
"The outage that occurred today is due to equipment failure," she said. "We will continue to investigate the cause as to what led to the failure. But at this time customers should expect to have their power back without further interruption."
Areas affected included Merced, Atwater and Livingston.
Power returned to some customers starting at 9:30 a.m., according to Morris. By 11 a.m. full service had been restored to all customers in the area.
During the blackout, a number of traffic lights in Merced went out, including at several major intersections on G Street, said Merced Police Sgt. Bob Chapman, who was the watch commander on duty during the time of the blackout.
During the blackout, officers patrolled several busy intersections, while public works officials fixed backup batteries that failed to power traffic lights, Chapman said.
"When the lights are out, people for some reason don't think they should have to stop. Well, you do," he said. "We had some issues with that but fortunately no accidents."
Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.