Lights Back On After Major East Bay Power Outage

A PG&E outage map showing extent of Monday morning's power failures in the East Bay. (PG&E)

Updated, 1:30 p.m.

PG&E says power has been restored to more than 40,000 customers in an area stretching from Berkeley through Albany, El Cerrito and into Richmond and San Pablo.

The widespread blackout occurred after a fire at an electrical substation on Portola Drive near Navellier Street in El Cerrito.

The outage began about 9:30 a.m., and the utility said power was restored throughout the affected area at about 1:15 p.m. The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating the cause of the outage.

The outage initially prompted BART to not stop at the Downtown Berkeley Station, but service was restored at 11:45 a.m.

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In the meantime, many traffic signals throughout the area are still out, causing backups at major intersections that are now operating under "four-way stop" rules.

Monday's outage marked the second time in 10 months that a problem at the El Cerrito substation has caused a blackout. Last June, a squirrel worked its way into the facility and damaged equipment that caused an outage affecting 45,000 PG&E customers. The utility noted at the time the squirrel did not survive the episode.

A fire at this substation in El Cerrito caused a power outage on Monday, April 25, 2016.
A fire at this substation in El Cerrito caused a power outage on Monday, April 25, 2016. (Julie Small/KQED)