On Wednesday morning, a major power outage struck the Lafayette, California area. Residents began to receive Nixle alerts from the Lafayette Police Department around 8:15 am, indicating that a major outage was underway.
According to an outage map from the utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE), the outage is currently affecting around 2,000 customers in the area. The main regions affected are the Happy Valley and Village Center neighborhoods. The outage appears to extend from Happy Valley Road as far West as Orinda.
Immediately following the announcement of the outage, I visited downtown Lafayette. Power was out in many buildings on the West side of town, and traffic lights were affected as well. As seen in the image above, the police department had placed temporary stop signs in most intersections. Traffic was proceeding but was slow.
The traffic issues downtown appeared to be creating unusually slow traffic on Pleasant hill road and other major roads in the other, unaffected regions of Lafayette. Businesses that had invested in backup generators were still operating, and the outage appeared to be affected primarily residential areas of the city rather than the core downtown business district.
According to a statement from the Lafayette Police Department, the outage does not appear to be the result of a planned Public Safety Power Shutoff or other planned event. The department says that the cause of the outage is still under investigation. The police department's statement also said that service is expected to be restored to PGE customers in Lafayette by 10 am - 12 noon today.
The Lafayette Police Department also reminded drivers in their statement that if a traffic light is out, they should treat the intersection as a 4-way stop sign. Although the department appears to have placed stop signs at all major affected intersections that would normally have traffic lights, it's always possible that the outage could spread, and that the department would be unable to place signs at all intersections. Again, if the light is out, treat the intersection as a stop sign.
The outages in Lafayette come on the heels of a major outage affecting San Ramon yesterday. They also follow a Red Flag fire warning in the Lafayette area, suggesting that wind damage or a downed tree branch could potentially be responsible, although the official cause remains under investigation.
Stay tuned to PGE's outage map and emergency website for updates on this outage and let me know in the comments if you are affected.