A widespread power outage has darkened a swath of California's Central Coast, affecting approximately 145,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers, the utility said late Sunday.
The outage stretch from the beach town of Cambria in San Luis Obispo county to Solvang in Santa Barbara's wine country.
Santa Maria, with a population of about 100,000, was the largest city affected by the outage.
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"At first we thought it was a brown out, with half of the city lights out about 9:15 p.m.," the city's police Chief Ralph Martin said. "But 10, 15 minutes later the whole city was without power."
Martin said the outage forced the police department to switch to generator power.
Extra officers were called to patrol the streets, direct traffic and respond to several reports of vandalism at local businesses, he said.
PG&E tweeted that equipment failure at a substation caused the outage, and a utility spokeswoman told KNX-AM in Los Angeles that crews restored power to at least 15,000 customers by midnight.
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