Outage over; balloons cause power loss, PG&E warns grads and dads

Map showing PG&E customers without power in Santa Cruz. About 6,500 were affected by an outage Friday morning.
The PG&E outage map as of 11 a.m. Friday; power was restored to the vast majority of the 6,403 customers by 12:45 p.m.
(Via Pacific Gas & Electric)

Around 6,400 households and businesses on Santa Cruz’s Westside and elsewhere lost power Friday morning after Pacific Gas & Electric said a metallic balloon entangled in its equipment touched off the outage around 9 a.m. The utility restored power to the vast majority of customers by 12:45 p.m.

A metallic balloon tangled in power equipment was behind an outage that left thousands of Santa Cruzans in the dark Friday morning on the Westside, in the Harvey West area and elsewhere.

Per Pacific Gas & Electric spokesperson Mayra Tostado, the utility responded to an outage just after 9 a.m. and found the entanglement near Houts Drive in Live Oak; 6,403 households and businesses were without power at the height of the outage.

PG&E had power restored by around 12:30 p.m. to an area that stretched from West Cliff Drive to Pogonip.

Between graduations and Father’s Day, it’s a busy time for celebrations, but metallic balloons can cause issues beyond the type of outage that hit Santa Cruz on Friday. They’re not biodegradable, and can harm wildlife if eaten.

Tostado passed along these tips:

  • Securely tie helium-filled metallic balloons with a weight.
  • Keep metallic balloons indoors and away from overhead electric lines.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve a balloon, kite or toy that is caught on a live power line.
  • If you see a downed power line, do not touch it. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

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