15,000 Alameda Customers Lost Power Tuesday Morning

Outage also apparently triggered the warning siren to sound on Bay Farm at around 8:10 a.m., perhaps as system was being reset.

About 15,000 Island residents lost power for 12 minutes this morning.

The outage area was on the main island, from Sherman Avenue east, and on all of Bay Farm Island. 

The power went out at 7:33 a.m. and was restored by 7:45 a.m.

As of 8:30 a.m., the cause of the outage was still unknown, according to's Bill Garvine. "Fortunately we had all the crews here, they start at 7 a.m," said Garvine. "So they are out looking for the source."

The outage triggered the emergency warning system to sound on Bay Farm Island — though the siren (usually reserved for noon on the first Wednesday of each month) was also heard on the east end of the main island. 

"We're not really sure what happened yet," said an  dispatcher. "We think that it may have been related to the power outage, but they were not set off by the police department."

As of Tuesday morning, the cause of the outage is still unknown.

Someone saw a large spark on Clement Avenue, where one of the main lines that brings power onto the Island runs, said Garvine.

An Alameda Patch Facebook commenter noted this: "I heard something loud from Clement's direction near Oak as my power dimmed then failed. I thought one of the transformers in our neighborhood burnt out!"

After the system shut down because of a fault, likely caused by an animal or a truck backing into a power line or some other small incident, power was restored, said Garvine, by switching the load from the disrupted portion of the grid to another substation. 

"We have two substations, each of which is capable, for awhile, of carrying the entire load in Alameda and it takes time to make that switch," he said. This morning, making that switch took 12 minutes.

J Dickens April 05, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Hi Eve. I used to hear the monthly testing when I worked on Clement. But now I work in Marina Village and don't hear it at all. Kinda scary...
Carol Parker April 05, 2011 at 06:46 PM
It was definitely a siren we heard on Bay Farm - same as the Wed. noon siren. It did not sound like a typical fire alarm. When the power went out I called Alameda Power but no answer on their after-hours line or main line. Then I called again and it was busy. After I heard the siren I called the non-emergency number of APD and the dispatcher said the siren was probably connected to the power having gone off and they were trying to figure it out. My first thought was to close all the windows - thinking maybe it was a haz mat spill and we needed to shelter in place. But, it could have just as easily meant we needed to evacuate. Mike is completely right - the city needs to be pro-active and get information out there even when it is a false alarm because people need to know there is someway they can verify whether it is a true emergency or not. If we get too many false alarms people will ignore the siren. The City could contact the media (KCBS news, for instance) and get info to the community saying don't worry this siren is a false alarm.
Tom Schweich April 05, 2011 at 07:54 PM
We have a good fire department, and firefighters who are dedicated to our safety. However, I think it's unrealistic and perhaps a little foolish to expect the city would have a message out to media, or via the reverse 911 system, or KCBS, within 15 minutes after a siren goes off. Depending on the circumstances, it could be 30 minutes or an hour before such messaging systems can be utilized. We don't have to be sitting ducks, though. We can train ourselves to deal with the disasters (or unknown situations). Consider the Alameda Fire Department CERT program at: http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/City-Hall/CERT The next classes start April 12th. We can also communicate quickly amongst ourselves without having a working telephone, a cell phone, or Internet access, and without waiting for someone to answer the phone. It's called amateur radio. There were a few of us on the Alameda amateur radio repeater this morning, and we quickly assessed where the power was out, and which sirens were activated. See the Amateur Radio Club of Alameda at: http://www.arcaham.org/
joel April 05, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Siren were added after 9/11 , interestingly no one ever acually printed an emergency plan , for one very simple reason people , would have a major problem getting out of the City at once , as for a Tsunami for example , so might as well writte the population out ..... But they did get grant for it . { It is not something Pro Suncal; and Pro base develop want the public to know . }
joel April 06, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Tom , we paid for a state of the art dispatch center in case you forgot.. To begin with the mailer send during the elections by Cpt Weaver urging peoples not to vote for some candidates , do you remenber the photo of a lone fire truck douzing the flames ? , it created explosive steam which send asbestos throughout , the worste kind the friable type . Few years back a house burned on Minturn , they jamed packed all their vehicle until they could not move , the Oakland Fire dept came to the rescue and put the fire out from the other side . house was a block from the fire station . House fire on broadway mother and children perished 2 blocks friom the fire house, Pease court they unrolled 400feet of hose to fight a fire ,could have done it from Broadway 150 feet house total , bay farm island the same, the Year PG&E had a pressure surge and several structure burned they drove one side to the other side of theb island like chicken with no head , 9/11 they did the same ? , the only thing they are good at is going shopping all sirens on , waxing the trucks and filling their personal vehicle at taxpayer expenses , the Fire Chief was set up for doing what they all do , I do not see much tom praise in such mentality , cap it at $ 200 000 a year they cannot afford Alameda and you call them good , No per their peirs , they have the best equipment can do nothing with it they are indeed the laughing stock of the Firefighter in the bay area .


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