Early morning fog caused an equipment failure that left some teachers and students in the Orcutt Union School District in the dark Tuesday after power was shut off to the rural Casmalia school campus.
Orcutt Academy Charter K-8 Casmalia Principal Joe Dana sent an email message to parents early Tuesday letting them know that classes would continue as usual despite the fact that the small community about five miles south of Santa Maria was suffering a power outage.
“Our teachers can teach (and students can work) without electricity, and our Child Nutrition Department does not anticipate any issues serving lunch,” Dana wrote in the email. “If there is anything more to report, we will send out another email.”
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman Blair Jones told Noozhawk crews were forced to shut off power to 83 customers in the Casmalia area around 6 a.m. due to moisture mixing with debris near equipment, which caused a spark that led to minor pole fire.
“There was fog in the area, which created an incident with equipment called tracking,” Jones said, noting the Central Coast environment lends itself to these types of events. “Because of that, the power was shut off. Tracking events do occur from time to time.”
Crews were able to restore power to most customers, including the school at 3491 Point Sal Road, by 8:48 a.m., Jones said. Seven customers still without power were expected to see it turned back on by early afternoon, he added.
Jones said a second outage in the Santa Maria area, affecting 115 customers on Donovan Road west of Miller Street, was a planned, reliability test outage.
Power was estimated to be restored there by 3:30 p.m.