PG&E Power Outage Roils Community

5:17 p.m. on Saturday October 27 — ever wonder what was under our free box 'box'? High voltage at the entrance to East Pier
At least PG&E is on site (power went out 11 hours ago)
But the estimate for restoring power is 6 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday)!!!
They've brought what looks like a giant battery, but is actually a giant genny (generator)
We have power. But the problem won’t be fully fixed until Monday or Tuesday
Sunday October 28 — PG&E brings in the serious service trucks
The genny for East Pier
And another genny for A Dock  |   photos by Tom Johnson  |  post composed by Jenny Stein from contributions by Tom, Jen Gennari, Katy Boyd and (special thanks) Brad Hathaway

We’re now in day 3 of a PG&E power outage that rolled through many of the docks on Friday and Saturday, and is now concentrated on East Pier and A Dock. Actually, not a power outage per se as fortunately PG&E has supplied portable generators (gennies) to keep both docks in power. If it were an outage we could check outage status online, but it isn’t (technically).  Aside from the initial PG&E alert we don’t have much to go on, so we’ve pieced the following story together from various sources. Revisit this post for updates—as they become available.

Jen Gennari of Issaquah wrote, “The power outage was weird—we heard first that a transformer blew on South 40, maybe on Thursday? Friday? Then Saturday a.m. Issaquah was dark, for maybe an hour. Guess it rolled on toward Kappas after that!”

Tom Johnson of East Pier picked up the thread with, “I’d go with the facts as we know them: power was out on Friday for a few minutes and then completely out at 6 a.m. on Saturday. The rumor is it may have something to do with a car crash the day before and a downed electrical pole. PG&E said that they found a damaged underground cable and they are fixing it. At first there was something like 85 outages, and then 65. We heard they got West Pier back up during low tide and are now waiting to get East Pier and A Dock up. Apparently they can only work at low tide. Could be Monday or Tuesday (according to a PG&E employee) before we have power restored. In the meantime they have East Pier and A Dock running with remote generators. Everyone is very happy…..”

To which Katy Boyd, also of East Pier, added, “All I know is that the power went out at 6 a.m. yesterday [Saturday] morning—and it is still not on here on East Pier! We have a genny working overtime, as does A Dock. There was an explosion that following the power outage at about 7 a.m. that plenty of people heard, but that is all I got!”

And finally East Pier Resident, Brad Hathaway, gave this very detailed account (on Sunday evening), “Shortly after 6 o’clock Saturday morning, the electricity supply to Kappas East and West Piers and Waldo Point Harbor’s A Dock went to a low voltage level that had lights in a ‘brown out’ and appliances working at half efficiency, if at all. Some types of LED lights cycled between high and low, coffee makers took twice as long to make coffee half as strong, and computers shut down for lack of power.

“PG&E crews responded promptly and were able to restore full power to West Pier in a little over 3 hours, but the problem for East Pier and A Dock appeared to be an underground cable. Could it be a leak in a junction box that would be flooded at high tide but dry at low? While the crews searched for a solution, they called in temporary generators to make the residents of East Pier and A Dock ‘hot’.

“Thirty-six hours later—the residents still comfortably consuming the power from the generators—the crews continue to search for the source of the problem. They’ve concentrated their efforts at low tide when even a leaky junction box might be dry. The generator monitor has stayed on through the tide cycle—making sure that the generator for East Pier and the other one for A Dock continue to operate—until the problem can be detected for certain and repaired.”

Monday October 29
2:30 a.m. Power out again
2:40 a.m.  PG&E alert: Outage including addr#36 [East Pier] affecting 44 customers. Expect [power] restored Oct 29@6:00AM More info when available. 
3:00 a.m. Power back on again
3:10 a.m. Movement detected around the A Dock genny
3:28 a.m. PG&E: Pwr restored in your area @3:01am Oct 29
Still w/o pwr goto

In the morning Brad had this to add, “The residents of East Pier and A Dock woke this morning to find that there had been a short lossage of power overnight but now the generators have been removed and the PG&E crews have departed. Perhaps the overnight lossage was the change back from generator power to normal service.”

Alls well that ends well.