Pacific Gas & Electric officials said Saturday's massive blackout was the result of a bird flying into power lines outside the El Capitan substation on North Highway 59.
The blackout affected 16,237 PG&E customers living in parts of Merced on Saturday morning.
"It was pretty extensive, and the outage covered a lot of Merced," said Denny Boyles, PG&E spokesman.
He said the affected areas were north of Olive Avenue, east to Lake Road and west to Castle Airport, including the Beachwood and Franklin areas.
The widespread power loss started after 7 a.m. Saturday. By about 10:30 a.m., service to about 8,200 customers had been restored. Power was restored to all customers by 1:08 p.m., he said.
"Animal-caused outages are more common than you'd think. Typically, it's animals getting into the equipment," Boyles said Monday. "What probably happened is a bird connected with two wires."
Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.