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RG&E blames widespread power outage in Brighton on 'faulty switch'

A significant segment of Brighton was without power this morning.

Power went out shortly before 9:30 a.m., affecting nearly 4,000 of the town’s 18,000 customers. The outage affected Brighton schools, and spanned the length of Elmwood Avenue, knocking out traffic signals and leaving businesses in the dark.

“The power outage affecting many in Brighton is affecting our schools as well,” read a message from the school district to Brighton parents. “School is continuing as normal. We are monitoring the situation and communicating with RG&E about restoration of power.”

French Road Elementary maintained power but other schools were "making adjustments as needed,” the message read, adding that backup generators in each building were able to operate essential emergency systems. Twelve Corners Middle School was briefly evacuated early Tuesday afternoon due to fumes caused by an overheated generator.

Some customers began to see power restored at 12:30 p.m. An RG&E spokesperson blamed a "faulty switch" — likening it to a switch on a home circuit panel, only on a larger scale. Initial estimates on RG&E's website were that power would be restored by noon. A spokesperson later pushed that to 2 p.m.. Work continued into the late afternoon.

Town Supervisor Bill Moehle took to social media to complain about lack of community updates and clarity about when power would return, noting the online site continued to say noon well into the afternoon. It was later updated to promise restoration by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.