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Power restored after 6,300-customer blackout

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Power was restored to some 6,300 San Francisco, Brisbane and Daly City homes and businesses by less than three hours after an electric problem in an underground vault blew out power to the region.

PG&E received a call of a smoking manhole cover at Geneva Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard at 4:45 p.m., said spokesman Andrew Souvall. Full service was restored by 7:30 p.m.

The power company shut off power to customers in the Excelsior district between Mission Street and the San Francisco border, and from Geneva Avenue to Whipple Street. The power is also out in northern Daly City from Crocker Avenue to Carter Street.

At 6:15 p.m. Souvall said the power company hopes to have power back on “within a couple of hours” but didn’t have a specific estimate of when that might be. He declined to comment on the cause of the outage, except to say failures in underground vaults are “relatively rare.”

In fact, they haven’t been entirely rare this year in the Bay Area.

A week ago Monday, a PG&E cable failure caused a boom and smoke to billow from a manhole at Battery and Pine streets at 6:30 a.m.

The week before that, an underground power problem shut down the South Hayward BART station. Power was not restored for several hours, delaying commuters during the already stressful Bay Bridge closure.

On July 27, power was cut to San Francisco’s City Hall after wisps of smoke were seen curling out of manhole covers in front of the stately building.

On July 6, a morning explosion under a manhole near the Ross clothing store on Fourth and Market streets due to a failed network connector caused the store to lose power, PG&E said. No one was injured but a handful of Muni buses had to be rerouted.

A fireball erupted from a manhole at O’Farrell and Polk streets June 12, knocking out power to 8,600 PG&E customers. Four blocks were closed for days and a shelter-in-place order was issued due to toxic smoke.

Record-breaking heat April 20 caused another manhole to blow at Geary Boulevard and Baker Street, cutting power to the nearby Sutter Health’s California Medical Campus.

On Jan. 3, a small fire resulted following an underground explosion in the Tenderloin. No one lost power or was injured and the fire was quickly controlled.


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