Christmas eve power outage changes plans for many

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

For many South Siskiyou County residents, Christmas Eve was a little different this year, given the power outage that left over 10,000 Pacific Power customers without power, some for as long as four hours.

Starting at roughly 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, the power went out from Lakehead to Lake Shastina, according to information released by Pacific Power,  with it eventually returning to Weed and areas north of it by 7:30 p.m.. 

However, Mt. Shasta and Dunsmuir residents were without power until 9:30 p.m.

Though power outages are not unusual in the area, this one was made memorable by the fact that it happened at a time when many were in the midst of their holiday celebration.

"It simplified things for us," said Mt. Shasta resident Sequoia Pettengel, who said that her family had made their own sushi for Christmas Eve dinner and did not need to do much cooking.  "We did need a stove for the rice," she said, explaining that they got out their camping stove to handle that job.

After that, she said her whole family hung out by candle light.  "I was knitting with my headlamp on. It was actually kind of a cool way to spend the night," she said.

Many others in the community had their stories to tell, as well.

Daniel Carpenter, also of Mt. Shasta, said the power outage definitely threw a kink in his family's dinner preparations, but they did their best to adjust.  "We enjoyed it.  We just got out the candles and went with it," he explained.  However, he added that relatives visiting from Salt Lake City were not quite as flexible, choosing to drive north to Yreka in search of an alternative Christmas Eve meal. 

Carpenter said the best story he'd heard came from his co-worker, John, who, shortly after the power went out, fished out an old battery operated radio, only to tune into "Silent Night".

Charlie Poulis of Mt. Shasta said he was able to manage just fine, but his thoughts definitely went out to others.  "I was driving accross town on my way home after visiting with some friends, and I saw all the cars parked out in front of the restaurants and couldn't help but wonder about all of those people sitting inside in the dark," he said.

Poulis said that he spent his evening cooking on the wood stove and basking in the glow of one of the oil lamps that he happens to collect.  "Eventually, I got out the guitar," he said.

For Dunsmuir resident Sarah Jackson, the power outage didn't put a crimp in her plans either.  "We were planning on eating tuna sandwiches anyway," she said.

The cause of the outage has yet to be announced.  Information will be posted when it becomes available.

Do you have a Christmas Eve power outage story to tell? Contact Charlie Unkefer at or post below.