Power outages leave more than 2,000 customers without power in SLO

September 16, 2022


More than 2,300 PG&E customers lost power in San Luis Obispo on Friday morning.

Shortly after 8 a.m., 52 PG&E customers off Foothill Boulevard lost power. PG&E estimates the power will be restored by 3 p.m. The cause of the outage remains under investigation.

At 9:26 a.m., the power went out for 2,325 customers in the Los Osos Valley and Madonna Road area. Power has been restored to all but 895 customers. The utility estimates power will be restored to the remaining users by 1 p.m.

This is the fourth time this month that PG&E customers in the Laguna Lake Park area lost power.

PG&E officials point at a new “fast trip” feature that automatically shuts off power when an object strikes a line in order to prevent equipment-sparked wildfires. Because of this, a tree branch or a bird hitting a wire can lead to a power outage.

Once an outage occurs, crews embark on a lengthy inspection process of all wires in the area, which must take place during daylight hours. Power is then restored to customers in stages as individual portions of the inspection process are completed.

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How many wildfires have started on Foothill Blv.

There has been numerous power outages because of these fast trip devices. Did the state mandate them or PG&E did on it’s own. It seems these devices are not reliable and due to the fact you have to now physically check the lines that is very time consuming. Does PG&E keep a log of what actually tripped these devices so they can make them work better

My guess is PG&E did it on their own to help defend future lawsuits, without the devices they would be on shaky ground should a electrical issue cause a fire. With the devices they can say “We tried to address electrical related fires”, and perhaps reduce their liability. Burying lines would be better but much more costly.

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“… a tree branch or a bird hitting a wire can lead to a power outage.”

Now, somebody help me here….

By “hitting a wire”, does that, perhaps, include a single bird just landing for a moment on one of those “fast trip” feature wires just to rest a bit before flying off again?

No it has to be something that is grounded (a tree limb) out is touching two of the conductors at the same time. A bird landing on a wire will not trip the breaker. A path to ground will carry current and eventually get hot and could catch fire, hence the need for these fast trip circuit protections.