PG&E blackout: More than 10,000 lose power in San Jose
Sisters Esmeralda and Andrea Ortiz sit in the front yard of their San Jose home with their car headlights turned on as a light source during a PG&E blackout. Photo by Luke Johnson.

    School’s starting, heat’s soaring and more than 10,000 people were out of power in San Jose on Aug. 18 as PG&E blackouts shrouded downtown homes in darkness.

    “We are in the middle of a pandemic and we cannot even stay at home comfortably,” said Luis Ortiz, a downtown San Jose resident. “The heat is unbearable and losing electricity during this critical time is not acceptable.”

    Ortiz lives with six other people in his family and said the power outage is impeding them from work and school.

    The energy supplier does not know the cause of the power outage at this time, according to PG&E spokesperson J.D. Guidi.

    “We don’t have a confirmed cause at this time so unfortunately there’s no estimate for restoration,” Guidi said. “But again, our crews are currently investigating.”

    The spokesperson said he did not know how many crews are currently working in San Jose.

    According to a PG&E statement, more than 500 heat-related power outages have affected more than 70,000 people in San Jose since the start of a statewide heatwave Aug. 14.

    Guidi said the power outages were unplanned.

    On Aug. 17, Mayor Sam Liccardo slammed PG&E for the power outages, saying the company’s faulty equipment caused extended blackouts in San Jose.

    Some blocks in downtown were pitch black at 11 p.m. Aug. 18 and many street lights were down.

    Traffic Signals have lost power on several streets in downtown San Jose. Photo by Luke Johnson.

    PG&E has recommended the following tips to prepare for power outages and will post updates on impending outages on its website. A map of outages in San Jose is also available here.

    • Plan ahead: Check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
    • Keep an emergency contact list: Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
    • Have a buddy system: Check in on elderly or people with access and function needs.
    • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even when you are not thirsty.
    • Stay cool: Take a cool shower or bath and wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.
    • Stay safe: Stay out of direct sunlight and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.

    Contact Mauricio La Plante at [email protected] or follow @mslaplantenews on Twitter. Luke Johnson contributed to this article.


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