Mystery power outage darkens Monterey County

PG&E officials have hired a consulting firm to find out what caused a power outage in Monterey County Sunday that still has about 28,000 customers without power, a PG&E spokeswoman said.

PG&E officials hired Exponent Inc., a scientific and engineering consulting firm, whose staff will be working through the night to determine the cause, PG&E spokeswoman Jacqueline Ratto said.

About 28,000 of the roughly 55,700 affected customers were without power as of 6 p.m., Ratto said.

A damaged electric transmission tower caused high voltage power lines to come down this morning in the Moss Landing area, she said.

Earlier media reports of an explosion at Moss Landing power plant could not be confirmed by PG&E, according to KION-TV.

The outage is unrelated to anything at the Moss Landing Power Plant off state Highway 1 in Moss Landing, Ratto said.

 

The lines came down at about 7 a.m. and by 9:30 a.m. thousands were without power, she said.

Customers in the area of Sand City, Seaside, Pacific Grove, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey and surrounding areas have been affected by the outage, Ratto said.

Utility crews expect to have power restored to all customers by 11 p.m., she said.

PG&E officials suggest customers unplug all electric appliances before power is restored to avoid overloading circuits. Leave one lamp plugged in and turn on appliances one at a time after power comes on, PG&E officials suggest.