Power outage eats into downtown San Luis Obispo restaurants’ business

Posted at 9:26 PM, Aug 09, 2018

A significant power outage in downtown San Luis Obispo knocked out power for thousands of Pacific Gas and Electric customers on Thursday, causing a number of businesses to close for the day.

More than 3,500 customers went dark around 1:30 p.m. An underground vault failed on the 600 block of Higuera Street.

PG&E worked to restore power to a majority of businesses and residents, but by the evening, 22 were still without it and without customers.

For restaurant owner Leonard Cohen, Cipinot’s was ready for power that never came until later in the evening.

"You go into emergency mode," Cohen said. "You empty the ice machine out, put it in the freezer, put the ice in the walk in, take all the expensive stuff, put it in the cooler and hope the power comes on."

Other businesses put up signs, conceding the night even if power was restored along the area where the outage occurred as well as on Monterey Street.

Efforts to restore power hampered Farmers’ Market set up. Meanwhile, F.McLintocks crew had shut its doors, but grilled grub outside.

"Thursday’s one of our busiest nights," said Emil Breig. "The Farmers’ Market is a huge pull. We’ll do about 180 dinners inside, it’s a phenomenal night. So it is a huge loss for business, but it’s just something you can’t predict and got to go with it as it happens."

A similar situation happened in May that left restaurants serving by candlelight.

"We apologize to any of our customers that have been impacted by this outage," said PG&E spokesman Mark Mesesan. "It is our effort to safely restore power as quickly as we can to remove any inconvenience at all."

Crews worked until 11:30 p.m. trying to fully restore power. We’re still waiting to hear back from PG&E about the exact cause of the failure of the underground electrical vault.