Updated: Power outage leaves 7,000 Morgan Hill residents in the dark

Officials looks to make city safer, more aesthetically pleasing with underground electric lines

More than 7,000 customers in Morgan Hill were left without power
Tuesday after an underground cable failed, according to PG
amp;E. Full article
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Thousands of Morgan Hill residents sat in the dark, downtown restaurants and shops couldn’t serve customers, and hot people fled into air-conditioned public spaces yesterday evening.

Some of the 7,000-plus PG&E customers affected by the power outage didn’t have electricity until 5:52 a.m. today, when electricity was fully restored in Morgan Hill, according to a PG&E spokeswoman. By about 1:40 a.m., about 3,000 customers in Morgan Hill remained without power.

The outage started about 4:19 p.m. Tuesday, and PG&E initially thought power would be fully restored by midnight.

An underground cable in the area of West Dunne and Del Monte avenues failed for an unknown reason, and that was the cause of the outage, PG&E spokeswoman Jana Morris said. Why the cable failed is “under investigation,” she said.

PG&E representatives could not comment on whether or not the cable failure was caused by road construction on West Dunne Avenue, where heavy earth moving equipment has been digging up and grading the northern side of the road for repaving.

That project includes placing the overhead utility lines underground on West Dunne Avenue, a feature that city staff have said will improve the appearance and safety of the street.

The power outage happened amid a heat wave that has hovered over Morgan Hill the last few days. The high temperature, recorded locally by resident and weather enthusiast Chris Henry, was 102 degrees yesterday. By 5 p.m. it was about 95 degrees outside, plus humidity was “higher than normal,” Henry said.

Some residents reported fleeing their blacked-out homes for air-conditioned spots such as the movie theater or the public library.

Neighborhoods scattered mostly along the eastern side of town, including most businesses on the east side of Monterey Road, did not have power during the outage.

Customers on Main Avenue, San Pedro Avenue, East Dunne Avenue, Bel Air Way, Church Street, Depot Street, Foothill Avenue and other streets lost their power.

Traffic signals along Monterey Road and Butterfield Boulevard were out for several hours, and police placed temporary stop signs at busy intersections to guide motorists.

Downtown restaurants on the east side of Monterey Road couldn’t serve dinner or cold drinks and had to close for the evening, while those on the west side of the street saw a deluge of customers.

Rosy’s at the Beach typically serves at least 200 tables on Tuesday nights, but last night had to close at about 6:30 p.m., according to owner Rosy Bergin. Electricity at that restaurant wasn’t restored until about 3:30 a.m.

“Tuesday is a busy night for us, so it’s too bad,” Bergin said. “A lot of people had planned their whole day around it, and they were disappointed.”

A good neighbor, Bergin sent her customers across the street to other establishments, including the Bubbles wine bar, which she also owns. “At least the downtown area could stay half alive,” Bergin said.

On the northwest side of downtown, Sinaloa Cafe was “crazy” with the spike in customers, according to manager Billy Surber.

“It was almost like a Friday night,” Surber said.

A total of 7,043 residential and commercial PG&E customers were affected by the outage, Morris said.

Also without power was the Gavilan College campus at the Community and Cultural Center, at the corner of Dunne Avenue and Monterey Road. Three classes scheduled for last night were canceled, according to Gavilan College program specialist Irma Banuelos.

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