Mylar Balloons Spark Two Berkeley Power Outages

By Rachel Purdy (BCN
Monday July 25, 2011 - 10:11:00 AM

Power was restored at about 5:15 a.m. to about 1,000 PG&E customers in Berkeley who have been without power since just before midnight, a PG&E spokeswoman said.  

The loss of service was separate from an outage that left 5,800 Berkeley customers without electricity around 5 p.m. Sunday, which was caused after Mylar balloons became tangled in power lines, PG&E spokeswoman Janna Morris said.  

However, the Mylar balloons are responsible for the recent outage, Morris said.  

"We ask those using Mylar balloons to celebrate indoors and not around power and utility equipment. Metallic balloons can do a significant amount of damage, causing the increase of a power outage to customers," she said.  

If a metallic balloon does get caught in a power line, customers are urged not to retrieve it and to call PG&E and report the problem immediately.  

This morning's outage primarily affected customers in the city's North Berkeley neighborhood including customers along Curtis and Delaware streets, between Bancroft Way and McGee Avenue and on Gilman Street.  

Power was restored to 5,800 PG&E customers throughout Sunday night, Morris said.