Faulty Switch Blamed for Tuesday Night Power Outage

Incident took place at Las Gallinas substation and mostly affected northern San Rafael neighborhoods.

All customers who experienced a power outage Tuesday night in the southern portions of Novato and northern portions of San Rafael had power restored by 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

The outage mostly caused problems in Marinwood, Lucas Valley, the Smith Ranch area, Santa Venetia, Terra Linda, Ignacio and Hamilton starting at about 6 p.m. At its peak, the outage caused about 20,000 customers to go dark.

Brittany McKannay of PG&E said the outage was caused by a broken switch at the Las Gallinas substation. The switch had opened and crews were unable to close it for a while, she said.

Joseph Robinow said on the San Rafael Patch Facebook page he was driving south on Highway 101 after 6 p.m. on Feb. 19, approaching Marinwood, when he saw “a very large flash of light ... up the hill on my left (just east of 101).” 

A separate incident in Kentfield caused outages in the Gerstle Park neighborhood of downtown San Rafael. At about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, a car struck a power pole at 15 Rosebank Avenue, not far from the junction of Wolfe Grade and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, McKannay said.

About 3,600 customers lost electricity from that crash. Outages were reported in Kentfield, Greenbrae, the Wolfe Grade area and Gerstle Park.

McKannay said it would be late Wednesday morning by the time repair crews finished installing a new power pole and hanging the power lines. She credited firefighters for clearing the area and maintaining safety before the PG&E repair crew arrived.

For more on these outages, click on this story by the Marin Independent Journal.

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