Heat wave causes blown transformer in Antioch

Bay Area

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – A prolonged power outage became a potential health and safety issue for an East Bay family. 

A work crew was on the scene fixing the problem but the homeowner says it was too hot, to stick around waiting for them to finish.

The heatwave took its toll on this underground PG&E transformer causing it to fail.

“We haven’t had any power in our home since last night around 8 o’clock,” Melissa Bryant said. 

This PG&E crew is removing the old transformer and replacing it with this new one outside of Melissa Bryant’s home on Warbler Drive in Antioch. 

The work was estimated to be complete around 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. However, Bryant says she can no longer wait because it is just too hot inside of her home for her family.

“I have a 6-year-old boy. My parents are elderly. My dad is in his 80’s. My mom is in her 70’s. We lost the majority of our food and now I am taking my son to a motel,” Bryant said.

She says her family has lived here for 35-years. This is the first time the transformer went down.

“When it stays hot that’s when we start seeing equipment failures,” Tamar Sarkissian said. 

The old transformer could no longer hold up in this heat, says PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.

“The number one reason we see power outages during heat events is because equipment such as transformers will not have sufficient time to cool. This equipment needs to cool and generally it will drop in temperature over night,” Sarkissian said. 

But it didn’t cool off. In fact, Bryant says the temperature in Antioch was so hot Tuesday night that she sought relief outside.

“It was like no breeze. It was miserable. I think I came out here and slept in the car for 3 hours,” Bryant said. 

Officials at PG&E say in addition to installing a new transformer they are also upgrading another key piece of equipment. 

A significant project that required some excavating. The home owner says she appreciates the effort but she’s got to go.

“You know they’re out here in the middle of this heat, trying to get this fix. I got to give them credit. They are working their butts off,” Bryant said.

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