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One San Francisco Complex Brought in Generators During Days-Long PG&E Outage

In San Francisco, residents say their apartment complex stepped up to keep the lights on when PG&E did not.

This comes after days of power outages and several equipment fires in San Francisco as the utility worked to restore power.  

Giant, green power generators are buzzing outside the Gateway apartments and townhomes on Davis Court in downtown San Francisco. Residents at the Gateway said their power went out Wednesday night.

“It’s been one delay after another,” resident Catherine Bator said.

Bator said she lives on the 25th floor with her husband. The days without power and water were tough for them, particularly with the elevator and refrigerator not working, she said.

“My husband walks with a walker, so the only way he could get down really would be to call 911, which we didn’t want to do,” she said.

By Saturday, Gateway residents said PG&E had not restored power to all the Gateway buildings. Residents told NBC Bay Area that their apartment management then rented generators to bring power back to all the buildings.

Once the generators got power back on Saturday afternoon, Bator said her water system and the elevator were working again. There have been power outages in northeastern San Francisco since Wednesday night when PG&E said there was an underground equipment failure.

San Francisco Fire Department officials posted on Twitter that a vault fire happened at 640 Clay Street at 8:42 p.m. Wednesday. No injuries occurred in that incident, they said.

The fire department confirmed that another vault fire took place Saturday as PG&E crews were working on a vault in the 300 block of Sansome Street. SFFD said PG&E workers quickly put out the fire, and no one was injured.

From Wednesday onward, outages persisted throughout San Francisco. At the peak of the outages, as many as 9,000 customers were reportedly without power. By Sunday, power had been restored for most.

PG&E did not share when it expected power to return to normal at Gateway.

“Many of the customers who were without power have been restored, and crews will continue working safely and as quickly as possible until the remaining customers have been restored,” a PG&E spokesperson said, adding that utility representatives were at the Gateway complex working to get food vouchers and water to customers.

“We know how disruptive it is to be without power, and we apologize for the inconvenience,” the spokesperson said in an email Sunday.

“We are so thankful for the gateway management,” said Terry Kraus, who is on the board of the Gateway Tenants Association, “because they responded when PG&E acted like they didn’t even know we were here.”

NBC Bay Area reached out to Gateway’s management company Greystar for comment but did not receive a response.

Kraus noted that many residents at Gateway are elderly or disabled, and these outages had a significant impact on them. She added that tenants are very frustrated to see that the Gateway outage is not showing up on PG&E’s online outage map. On Sunday night, when the address for Gateway was typed into PG&E’s map, the map said: “Outage status currently unavailable.”

When PG&E was asked about the map, a spokesperson said customers there, “are being powered by generators so they currently have power while the final repairs are being made.” The spokesperson also noted that because this outage is impacting apartments and townhomes in the area, there is usually one customer per meter.

“In this instance, the customer count may differ from the outage map,” the spokesperson said.

Kraus said the tenants at Gateway want to see more accurate information from their utility.

“Get your act together; act like you know we have 1,240-something units here,” Kraus said.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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