Mon 22 Dec 2008
Tomales Bay area residents tonight coped with a several-hour blackout that hit at 7 p.m.
Members of a utility crew show up tonight at the PG&E substation in Olema (right & below). Even after the probable cause of the blackout was found, utility workers still had to systematically test a variety of electrical equipment before turning the power back on.
Affected by the blackout were: Olema, Inverness Park, Inverness, Point Reyes Station, and Marshall. Most residents got power back at 10:50 p.m. but a few not until almost midnight.
PG&E workers at the substation told this blog they first suspected an animal might have caused a short, but no animal remains were found, and further investigations led them to suspect a regulator had failed.
This was hardly the first time there have been problems at the Olema substation.
In 2004, a lightning bolt struck a transformer, blacking out roughly the same area as this evening.
And back in 1976, the New World Liberation Front bombed the substation.
The bomb merely blew a hole in a transformer’s coolant tank, but coolant then drained from it for several hours, causing the transformer to eventually overheat and shut down.
It took workers most of a day to get the substation running again, and while this was going on, I happened to wander into Cheda’s Market, which was located where the Whale of a Deli is today.
Edna Petroni was working at the checkout counter, and she was thoroughly miffed at these domestic terrorists.
“The trouble with people like that,” she said indignantly, “is that they don’t think about those of us who have freezers.”