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Update: Guy wire snaps, cuts power for 21,000

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By Dave Boyce

A guy wire attached to a metal power pole apparently came loose, whipped up and hit an electrical transmission line Monday, Aug. 18, at around 11:45 a.m., cutting power to about 21,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Menlo Park, Atherton, Los Altos, Portola Valley and Redwood City, spokesman Joe Molica told The Almanac.

All but about 3,900 customers in parts of Menlo Park and Portola Valley had power restored by 2 p.m., Mr. Molica said in a 3 p.m. phone interview. Power may be restored completely by 5 p.m., he said, adding: "Our crews are working as quickly and safely as they can."

Safety equipment on the transmission line near Fremont Road and Junipero Serra Blvd. shut the line down immediately when the guy wire hit and prevented damage to other equipment, he said.

When asked if there had been any danger of fire starting as a result of the incident, Mr. Molica said he didn't think that there was and compared the shutting down of the transmission line to "a giant circuit breaker."

PG&E crews left immediately to find the break after system sensors gave them a rough idea of where it was, he said. "When a situation like this occurs, we will throw the resources at it to get people restored as quickly as possible."

Guy wire inspections are a regular part of power line maintenance inspections, he said.

The outage shut many businesses on Santa Cruz Avenue.

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