Big rig crash into pole leads to power surge in Discovery Bay

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Fire crews are working a power surge that has left hundreds in the dark and has reportedly forced the evacuation of a middle school in Discovery Bay. (Myles Mogan)

PG&E is investigating after a big rig accident caused a power surge, which led to the explosion of some SmartMeters at homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.

"It was a pretty good explosion," said one resident on Worthing Court in Discovery Bay. "We heard it from inside the house and the pieces, they look like they went 8 to 10 feet."


According to the CHP, a big rig crashed into a power pole around 10:30 a.m., knocking down power lines and shearing the pole in half on Highway 4, between Marsh Creek Road and the Byron Highway. The driver of the rig was not seriously hurt. According to PG&E, the high power transmission lines at the top of the pole carry 60,000 volts. They crossed with the lower residential lines, charged with 21,000 volts.

"Those two lines hit, caused a surge in the system, which caused issues down the line," explained Captain Craig Auzenne with the East Contra Costa County Fire District.

Nearby Excelsior Middle School was evacuated and closed for the day due to the power outage. Besides the exploding SmartMeters, one resident told us smoke and some flame was shooting out of the outlets inside her home.


"All of a sudden, all the electrical outlets started popping and fire was shooting out of one of them," said the resident, who identified herself only as Amanda. Immediately after the accident, PG & E reports about 2900 customers in Discovery Bay and Byron lost power. All but a handful have been restored. Though it started with a third party accident involving the big rig, PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian told ABC7News, homeowners with possible damage claims can submit them to PG&E.

PG&E shared information with ABC7 News about filing claims. Keep reading below for their statement and instructions:

PG&E's focus right now is on restoring customers and repairing our equipment, safely and as quickly as possible. Regarding your question, there was a 60,000 volt and 21,000 volt line on the pole. Again, PG&E will be investigating the details of this car-pole accident including any impacts to customers. Although this incident was caused by a third party truck driver, customers are welcome to submit claims to PG&E.

Claims Process

  • Claims are always evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, it is the utility's policy to resolve claims promptly and fairly, if, after investigation, it determines that it was negligent.

  • The claims process is fully explained on PG&E's external website and on its claim form, if the customer wants to obtain more information about the process. See instructions below.

  • Accessing the on-line claims form:

  • If the customer wishes to access information about the claims process and to obtain a claim form: http://www.pge.com/claims

  • Once we have received the form our goal is to mail a Claims Acknowledgement Letter within 48 hours. However, this may take longer if we receive a large volume of claims.


Click here to file a claim with PG&E.

Related Topics:
crashtruck crashpower outagePG&EinvestigationDiscovery Bay
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