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NEWS ADVISORY

Oct. 30, 2007
Contact: Jeff Hood, communications specialist, (209) 333-6801

Lightning strike outside Lodi causes brief citywide blackout

A lightning strike on power lines northeast of Lodi led to a momentary citywide blackout in the city Monday evening.

A 230-kilovolt transmission line feeding Pacific Gas & Electric's Lockeford Substation tripped off-line at 6:06 p.m. Monday for a brief moment, knocking out the Lodi Electric Utility's ability to import power into the city. The lightning struck PG&E facilities somewhere between Lockeford and Sutter County.

Fortunately, PG&E's system automatically restored the electricity supply and service to the city was out only briefly. The outage could have been much more extended, however, if PG&E's circuits failed or if there was physical damage to PG&E's system that couldn't be bypassed automatically.

Lodi receives nearly all its electricity through a PG&E substation in Lockeford. The Lodi Electric Utility is currently scouting potential routes for a second power system that would connect the city's power grid with transmission lines near Interstate 5. A second set of transmission lines would greatly reduce the likelihood of citywide outages.

Monday's outage was the fifth citywide in less than three years. Each of those was the result of circumstances outside the Lodi Electric Utility's control.

The brief power loss Monday inconvenienced residents and businesses, and damaged the phone system of city government offices, causing delays for residents calling the City of Lodi on Tuesday.

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