Power outage leaves dozens of San Jose nursing home residents without heat, lights

Although advanced age has slowed her movement, 90-year-old Beverly Blockie is still known for her sternness and sense of humor, according to her son, Michael Azevedo.

But the life-long Bay Area native found no laughter in the abrupt move from her home of 18-months, all due to a lack of heat and light as winter takes hold.

"I have camping stuff and everything, but this is ridiculous this morning," said Blockie, as she used her walker to shuffle to her son’s black Tesla, which was parked near The Watermark at Almaden Senior Living Center.

Monday morning was the second morning that approximately 100 residents had no electricity. Power was restored Monday night just before 8 p.m. after generator equipment arrived, but before that, there was no heat and only emergency lighting inside.

"It’s been cold in there for residents. They’ve been handing out blankets and handwarmers," said Lisa Poyser, president of the residents' association, and a resident of two-and-a-half years.

The problem started Saturday evening, when Pacific Gas and Electric officials say a bus duct – equipment owned by the senior center, that transmits electricity to the facility – blew. That severed service to the building in the 4600 block of Almaden Expressway. 

"I’m just shocked that they aren’t able to take care of the senior residents properly. You can have power outages, you can have transformers blow, but you have backups for that. These are people who rely on systems and heat and C-PAPS and warmth," said Azevedo.

Late Monday afternoon, some new equipment arrived via an 18-wheeler. Electric contractors continued working to affect repairs and restore service.

In a statement, Watermark management said in part, "Our associate team is regularly checking on our residents and working diligently to ensure the comfort of each resident during this temporary power outage…We anticipate (Monday’s) installation of a temporary generator to provide power to the remainder of the community."

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Some residents had complained the weekend power outage is the latest in a slew of problems that have plagued the relatively new facility, which finished construction during the COVID pandemic.

"There’s always things that go wrong in buildings. And you know it’s tough because management is kind of a revolving door," said Lisa Poyser, president of the residents' association.

As darkness and colder temperatures descend on the South Bay Monday evening, some residents who were committed to remaining at the center were watching the work to fix the problem, and eyeing the thermometer to see how much cold could creep inside due to a lack of heat.

"A lot of us that are here looked at a lot of other places. But this was classy, new. But everything’s falling apart," said Blockie.

While the generators are powering the facility for now, officials said they hope to be connected to the power grid by Tuesday. 

Once repairs are completed, the city and county must inspect the work. The California Department of Social Services is also investigating the outage. 

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv