March 3, 2013

Major power outage affects Merced County

A massive power outage has affected part of Merced County this morning. Merced Fire Dept. reports 20,000 PG&E customers are without power due to an interruption in a main transmission line. The power has been off in areas of Merced, Atwater and Livingston. Officials say power is expected to be restored by 11 a.m.

A massive power outage affected Merced County this morning.

Roughly 59,000 PG&E customers went without power due to an interruption in a main transmission line, according to PG&E officials.

The malfunction took place at the Wilson Sub Station, 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 lead 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 outage, a number of traffic lights in Merced stopped operating, 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 outage.

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.”

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