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Power outage affects Occidental, closes two schools

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. crews by late Wednesday afternoon had finished restoring power from an outage in west Sonoma County that affected more than 2,000 customers at its peak.

The outage, which affected Occidental and Sebastopol, started Wednesday around 2 a.m., said Deanna Contreras, spokeswoman for the utility company. Crews were restoring power “intermittently” throughout the early morning, she said, and by 9 a.m. had restored power to more than 1,000 customers.

Crews had finished restoring power to the remainder of customers by at least 5 p.m.

A helicopter was deployed around 10:40 a.m. to inspect the lines near where the outage originated, on Occidental Road west of Jonive Road, Contreras said.

Harmony Union School District closed for the day due to the outage.

Matthew Morgan, superintendent of the district, said the school had originally heard early Wednesday morning power might be restored closer to 8:15 a.m. As some parents were bringing their students to school, however, school officials received word that 3 p.m. was the new deadline.

Without electricity, the schools cannot operate their handwashing stations and ventilation systems, which are critical components of schools’ COVID safety protocols, Morgan said. Students at Salmon Creek School and Harmony Elementary School were bused home or picked up by their parents around 10 a.m.

Power was restored to the campus by 11:45 a.m., Contreras said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay at 707-521-5250 or kaylee.tornay@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ka_tornay.

Kaylee Tornay

Education, The Press Democrat

Learning is a transformative experience. Beyond that, it’s a right, under the law, for every child in this country. But we also look to local schools to do much more than teach children; they are tasked with feeding them, socializing them and offering skills in leadership and civics. My job is to help you make sense of K-12 education in Sonoma County and beyond.  

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