Power outages strike Pleasanton Meadows area after heat waves


Kevin Zhu

PG&E has recommended customers to set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher in order to help statewide efforts.

Kevin Zhu, AVT News Editor

On September 13th and September 1st power outages struck the Fairlands residencies of Pleasanton and some parts of Dublin due to strain on the electrical grid from air conditioning units.

Breaking Records

The heat wave that lasted from late August through the first week of September reached historic highs as it shattered records for the highest temperatures in Pleasanton history. The new record is now 113 degrees according to the National Weather Service.

Courtesy of the National Weather Service. The Livermore municipality has broken records of heat in September at 113 degrees.
(Kevin Zhu)

“I’ve lived through some hot summers, but this was the one. This was the one. It’s better because we have AC now, which we used to not have,” said Bill Engle, 19-year Fairlands resident.

Outages and Equipment Strain

After multiple days of intense heat, PG&E issued several alerts recommending clients cut back on electricity consumption. When areas not conditioned to hot weather experience sudden heat waves, it can place severe stress on equipment and grids.

“Heat-related equipment outages can occur during periods of sustained high temperatures. Transformers, which distribute power to homes and businesses, need a period of time when they can cool down, which usually happens overnight when energy usage and temperatures drop. Heat events with sustained high overnight temperatures can put stress on transformers, causing them to fail,” said PG&E in a press release.

 Pleasanton and much of the East Bay have suffered outages more often than Southern California in the recent wave. This is largely due to the fact that the  Tri-Valley has experienced relatively mild temperatures historically.

“ This[outages] is more likely to occur in area where coastal influence normally results in lower evening temperatures, rather than in interior valleys that routine experience extremely hot weather,” said PG&E.

Pleasanton Meadows Outages

The strain on the electrical grid manifested itself in the form of power outages on Sept. 13th at 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sept. 1st. Residents of the Fairlands area are dissatisfied with the power outages but not entirely surprised.

“My power went out this morning. I woke up at around six, and my lights wouldn’t turn on. I think it’s just the Fairlands area, my neighbor’s [power]  was out too,” said Jessie Chan(‘23).

Many residents of the Fairlands area experienced inconveniences during the outages, as they occurred early in the morning and late at night. On the other hand, it is convenient that the outages did not occur in the afternoon when temperatures were highest.

“It was way too hot to sleep when the power went out at three in the morning, so I just got up and got a lawn chair. It’s not a problem for me because I’m retired, but I imagine it must have been a sleepless night for the people with work,” said Engle.

Power outages should become sparse as the summer heat wave finally subsides. Blackouts and outages should become rare occurrences during the fall and winter months.