If it had been December in a snow-belt community instead of September in Atherton, Monday (Sept. 28) at Menlo-Atherton High School might have been called a snow day: an unexpected vacation from school.
The students did have the day off because, with the exception of the small gymnasium on the campus, M-A had no electrical power, Principal Simone Rick-Kennel told the Almanac.
Power has since been restored, Ms. Rick-Kennel said, and classes will resume Tuesday as usual. The school did hold some athletic practices on Monday, as well as a previously scheduled get-together on how to apply to the University of California, Ms. Rick-Kennel said.
The outage had been planned, but it wasn't supposed to unfold as it did. A crew from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. set to work on Sunday morning, Sept. 27, to replace a wooden pole as part of a preventive maintenance program ahead of winter storms, PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian said. The Sunday outage began at 7 a.m. and was supposed end at 3 p.m., she said.
The crew had "one complication after another" in replacing the pole, Ms. Rick-Kennel said, recalling her conversations with the PG&E crew. At midnight, the crew determined that it needed a high-voltage specialist, she said.
At 6 a.m. on Monday, the school was still dark and it was unclear when power would be restored, she said. After consulting with administrators at the Sequoia Union High School District, "We went with the very unfortunate and tough decision to close school for the day," Ms. Rick-Kennel said.
Power came back intermittently around 9 a.m., she said. "It was a situation that was supposed to be routine -- replacing a power pole -- and it turned into one unplanned issue after another," she said.
Power was restored at around 10:30 a.m., Ms. Sarkissian said. One complication: The crew had not foreseen that the pole was set in concrete, she said.