Construction Crew Knocks Out Power in San Francisco

One simple construction mistake led to inconvenienced commuters and 22,000 people without power.

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A construction crew working on a site in San Francisco knocked out power for more than 22,000 people right in the middle of the city’s infamous morning commute. The outage affected more than five of San Francisco’s neighborhoods and lasted nearly four hours.

According to CBS San Francisco, the power outage was caused by the construction crew accidentally cutting an underground 12,000-volt power line. No workers were harmed in the incident. A spokesperson for PG&E, the electric company that provides service to the city, said the crew actually did call 811 before they began working at the site.

“We have an 811 number that any customer or third party should be calling before they do digs to prevent accidents like this from happening,” PG&E spokesperson Megan McFarland told CBS.

The power outage also impacted the nearby Muni Metro Light Rail trains. According to the light rail’s Twitter account, travel was suspended in both direction and the company was forced to organize bus shuttles to get commuters to their destinations. Traffic signals were also effected, turning areas with traffic lights into four-way stops.

A spokesperson for the construction company told CBS that they did not see any marking on the spot where they were digging, and that the company is working with both PG&E and the city of San Francisco to find out how the power line was cut.

In the world of construction, everyone is bound to make mistakes. Typically, they impact less people than this one. Remember, construction pros: always know exactly what’s in the ground beneath you before you start digging.