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PG&E Provides Details About Monday Evening Power Outage

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Sonora, CA — A Pacific Gas and Electric Spokesperson is providing some information about what led to Monday’s widespread power outage in Tuolumne County.

We reported earlier that around 7,500 customers lost electricity at 6:47pm around Sonora, Soulsbyville, Phoenix Lake and Tuolumne.

PG&E’s Megan McFarland reports, “The cause of this outage was part of PG&E’s enhanced powerline safety settings program. These settings allow our powerlines to automatically turn off power within one-tenth of a second. This can occur when there is a hazard, like a tree branch falling into a line.”

Click here to view an earlier story on the EPSS program.

It is not immediately clear what specifically threatened the power infrastructure, spurring the outage.

McFarland adds, “Since it’s an EPSS outage, PG&E needs to patrol the entire line before they can reactivate it. Crews may be able to determine the cause of an outage while patrolling the circuit. However, outage causes may be ruled as undetermined. I don’t have the details on the cause of the outage yet.”

Most customers were restored during the nine o’clock hour last night, so the outage lasted about two and a half hours.

McFarland says PG&E began implementing its EPSS program last year and has seen an 80 percent reduction in ignitions on EPSS-enabled circuits in high fire danger areas.

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