By KAREN VELIE
Three large outages in San Luis Obispo County have left 4,487 PG&E customers without power on Saturday afternoon, as lengthy outages have become regular occurrence in the county.
The lights went out in parts of Atascadero and Templeton to 1,707 PG&E customers at 1:09 p.m. The utility estimates power will be restored by 7:30 p.m.
Shortly afterwards, at 1:09 p.m., 1,418 PG&E customers lost power in rural Santa Margarita and Creston. PG&E estimates the power will be back on at 7:30 p.m.
At 2:58 p.m., 1,362 PG&E customers in San Luis Obispo lost power. The utility estimates the power will be back on by 9:30 p.m.
PG&E officials blame a new “fast trip” feature that automatically shuts off power when an object strikes a line in order to prevent equipment-sparked wildfires, as a primary reason for the increase in outages. Because of this, a tree branch or a bird hitting a wire can lead to a lengthy power outage.