Comcast, power outages strike Palo Alto area

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

April Fools’ Day was anything but funny for tens of thousands of people on the mid-Peninsula yesterday, with a Comcast outage wiping out service for about 30,000 people and a power outage affecting about 4,000 Palo Alto customers.

“People are getting frustrated,” said James Piazza, manager of Piazza’s Fine Foods at the Charleston Shopping Center, across the street from where Comcast officials said another company’s construction crew damaged Comcast equipment underground. Piazza’s was using a backup system yesterday.

Piazza said that without Comcast, it was slow for grocery checkers to charge credit cards. Debit cards were only working about 20% of the time, he said.

At Mountain Mike’s Pizza nearby, owner Navid Shaikh said he had lost a lot of business because he was unable to receive phone calls or process credit cards without Comcast.

Luckily the pizza joint didn’t lose power, but by 4:30 p.m., Shaikh said the only customers he had served were walk-ins who could pay cash.
“If no one walks in, they think we’re closed today,” Shaikh told the Post.

The Comcast outage started yesterday morning at E. Charleston and Middlefield roads, Comcast spokeswoman Joan Hammel said.

Workers with a dozen Comcast trucks were seen at E. Charleston and Middlefield late into the afternoon.

At 4:51 p.m., Hammel said Comcast crews had completed their repairs to the network.

Exactly what happened to cause the damage wasn’t immediately clear. Residents and companies are asked to call 811 at least 48 hours before digging, so that Underground Service Alert can mark where gas, electric, water, wastewater, cable TV and communication lines are.

Anyone who doesn’t call USA first is on the hook for paying for any damage.

Outages in several cities

Social media posts from customers indicated Comcast blackouts in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Atherton and Woodside. Hammel said she didn’t know how many people in each city lost service.

Customers can request a refund from Comcast at xfin.tv/2YHCiw7.

“It can take a little bit of time for all customers to receive services because we have to sequence things a certain way,” Hammel said. “But customers should start seeing their services come back online very soon.”

Power outage

At about the same time, parts of Palo Alto lost power, though the city said it appeared to be unrelated to the Comcast outage.

The power outage lasted from around 1 p.m. to just before 7 p.m. and affected customers from Crescent Park to Green Acres, from College Terrace to Charleston Gardens.

By around 3 p.m. the city had restored power to about 2,400 customers.

City utilities officials said that the power outage was caused by a loose or bad connection in an underground vault.

“Any one vault or transformer helps support providing power to a large area, you know, and something can happen anywhere along the system that could impact a transformer or vault,” utilities spokeswoman Catherine Elvert told the Post.

36 Comments

    • Comcast business reports a 4:30 pm ETA for repair. Comcast business actually has a measure of customer support, and there estimates tend to be their worse case, and usually resolve earlier.

      We are in greenmeadow

    • AT&T is horrible. And their TV guide menu is strange looking.
      The connection would always freeze here and there.
      People I know with it tell me the same thing.

      Xfinity has been great. An outage here and there and not very often.

  1. Comcast Business Internet is still down in West Menlo Park.
    I believe it won’t be back until early eve, per its 4:30pm ETA.

  2. I’d like somebody to add up all of the hours of productivity that are lost because of a stupid outage like this! I’m looking for alternatives to Comcast!!!

  3. I’m in Atherton and Comcast is out here. I called customer support and they told me it would be 4:30 before service is returned. Frustrating!

  4. I’m not sure why you are reporting this resolved. The outage is still ongoing for a large number of people, with ETAs being extended … any updates you can gather and post for us would be much appreciated.

    • Comcast just told me the technician notes say it’s due to a smashed cable due to a road construction crew …

      • I wonder if this was caused by construction close to Town & Country Village I saw this morning? Traffic was quite backed up, along with construction notice signs.

  5. Been out of service since 9AM in dowtown Palo Alto. First agent Ispoke with estimated it’d be up by 1:16PM. Second agent, called shortly after that time passed, estimated 4:30PM. After reading a comment of a 7:30PM estimate, I called in again, agent refused to give an estimate! Ridiculous.

  6. That report that Comcast was back up at 12:30 PM was fake news. It is 2:44 PM now, I’m in downtown Palo Alto, and Comcast is still down.

  7. No, that 12:30 PM report that Comcast service was back up was incorrect. It is 12:48 PM now, I am in downtown Palo Alto, and Comcast is still down.

  8. The Comcast outage has definitely NOT ended. A few areas seem to be restored, but at least part of downtown University Avenue is down, as well as my office in the Ventura district.

    We live in a strange high tech area with well-educated individuals who feel strongly about many issues, but we expect results inconsistent with their choices.

    The Internet was designed to survive global thermonuclear war, but the Palo Alto electrical grid had a lengthy outage from a single transmission tower accident. Comcast has old infrastructure is much of our area, and their reliability is certain districts is far below reasonable standards. Redundancy? It doesn’t appear to exist,
    AT&T advertises about cheap gigabit service to residential users, but it isn’t being delivered in my my area; I’m very close to a central office, but I cannot get affordable high speed internet from AT&T with a single static IP address (which I need for business purposes). We control and regulate so many things, but we cannot as a community hold our telecom vendors accountable for poor service.

    But our residents are guilty, too. Some folks try to block cellular towers, so I have a backup cellular data modem, but only two bars of service. We would love the speed of 5G cellular service, but we must endorse and support the installation of new infrastructure and antennas to allow it to happen. When I travel to other cities, I often see five bars of signal strength almost everywhere, but not here.

    I remain frustrated by many frivolous things we fund, while not investing is so many truly valuable things that might actually improve our quality of life,

  9. Comast’s latest estimate puts a resolution after 8PM:
    “A service outage for Internet has been reported in your area. We expect this to be resolved by 4/1/2019 at 8:16:13 PM.“

  10. current status update from Comcast Business: “A service outage for Internet has been reported in your area. We expect this to be resolved by 4/1/2019 at 8:16:13 PM.”

  11. Oh no! It’s the end of the world as we know it. Whatever can do without cable? Perhaps it’s God playing an April Fool’s joke on us spoiled Silicon Valley folks?

  12. Finally got back on line after multiple reset of the cable modem, the last reset was initiated remotely from the Comcast web site – rinconada park

  13. Stockton California xfinity internet is currently out. Was acting weird yesterday and is out today. Are these events connected?

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