28,000 PG&E customers in Oakland lost power due to heavy winds beginning on Jan. 22, 2022. Credit: Darwin BondGraham

A powerful weekend wind storm knocked out power to thousands of PG&E customers in Oakland, the utility company said Monday. 

Outages were reported across the city, as wind gusts recorded at more than 60 mph toppled trees and wreaked havoc on PG&E equipment. Some residents and businesses told The Oaklandside they were without electricity for more than 24 hours. 

At the peak of the weekend storm, nearly 28,000 customers were without power, according to PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.

“There were multiple outages during a brief period of time throughout Oakland,” Sarkissian said Monday. “Many were caused by vegetation, broken branches, and healthy trees that fell into power lines or struck electric equipment.”

PG&E’s power outage map on Saturday morning showed portions of several neighborhoods were affected, including the Laurel District, Redwood Heights, Mills, Arroyo Viejo, Castlemont, Montclair, Crocker Highlands, and Dimond. 

Other affected areas were Fruitvale and 23rd Avenue, International Boulevard between 79th Avenue and 98th Avenue, Piedmont Avenue and Grand Avenue near Mountain View Cemetery, as well as areas around Telegraph and Alcatraz. The online map—which anyone can use to track outages in real time—did not provide an estimated time of restoration for many areas, as The Oaklandside reported Saturday morning

The duration of outages varied. In cases where PG&E could switch customers to an unaffected line, electricity was restored within two hours, Sarkissian said. But the majority of affected residences and businesses were without power for up to eight hours, the utility reported. 

“A minority of customers were impacted for lengthier periods of time,” Sarkissian said. “The uprooted trees, broken branches and debris lead to many outages in a short period of time in Oakland. However, we were able to restore most customers in eight hours or less. In some cases, outages took longer to restore.” 

As of Sunday morning and some 24 hours after initial outages, areas of Eastmont Hills, Dimond, Glenview, Montclair, and Laurel remained without power. One outage in the Laurel District caused by a large tree that fell onto a power line on Friday evening affected businesses along the commercial stretch of MacArthur Boulevard on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the shops on the west side of MacArthur remained closed throughout the weekend, including Wingstop. 

Store manager Ulises Huerta said the restaurant’s power went out either late Friday or early Saturday and was not restored until Sunday evening. “We lost a lot of product and threw a good amount of food away,” Huerta said Monday.

On Twitter, residents reported being without power for up to 36 hours

Sarkissian said to restore some outages, PG&E crews needed to remove large trees that were blown over or uprooted due to the intense winds. “The removal of large trees is a lengthy process and must be completed before we can begin safely replacing power poles, lines and other equipment for restoration,” she said. 

As of Monday morning, PG&E’s online outage map showed as many as 150 customers were without electricity, although it was not clear if the outages were related to the weekend storm. The outages were on Morcom Avenue at Fleming Avenue, Havenscourt Boulevard above International Boulevard, and Hillside Street between 78th and Parker avenues.

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David DeBolt reported on City Hall and policing for The Oaklandside. He spent 12 years working for daily newspapers in the Bay Area, including on the Peninsula and Solano County. He joined the Bay Area News Group in 2012 where he covered a variety of beats, most recently as a senior breaking news reporter. During his time at BANG, DeBolt covered Oakland City Hall, the Raiders stadium saga and the A’s search for a new ballpark, as well as the Oakland Police Department and police reform efforts. He was part of the East Bay Times staff honored with the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for coverage of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.