A June 23 equipment failure at a Morro Bay switchyard at around 9:15 p.m. caused power outages for nearly 150,000 Central Coast Pacific Gas & Electric customers. Some Morro Bay residents reported seeing an arc of electricity surge over equipment at the substation, a utility spokesman said.
“We have reports of a flash-arc,” Pacific Gas & Electric Spokesman Blair Jones said. “As to whether that caused the blackout is still under investigation.”
The outage impacted customers from Solvang to Cambria, and caused almost total electrical darkness in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria. Around downtown SLO, the only places that appeared to have power were parts of Cal Poly, the Broad Street firehouse, and Sierra Vista Hospital.
The blackout came on the night a full moon passed closest to the Earth this year—a so-called supermoon. The bright moonlight illuminated an unseasonably thick blanket of fog, giving residents enough visibility to move around in the darkness.
SLO police and firefighters responded to 102 incidents on 309 calls to emergency dispatch over the course of the blackout.
PG&E began restoring Central Coast neighborhoods to service after midnight and had most of the area online by 1:45 a.m.