Tuesday’s power outage caused by mylar balloon

About 4,700 people temporarily lost power on Tuesday.

Then a reader, Geoff, sent us this pic, saying:

I was on Valencia st when the power went out, so I went back home. On the way I saw this at 21st and Alabama. A Mylar balloon shorted out the wires, and it looks like it took out most of the district.

Thanks, Geoff!

The SF Appeal has the official story:

[PG&E spokesman] Molica said the balloon “caused extensive damage,” and he reminded people to keep metallic balloons weighed down and away from power lines.

Here’s a pic with the balloon highlighted, in case it wasn’t clear above.

6 Responses to “Tuesday’s power outage caused by mylar balloon”

  1. commentariatsays says:


  2. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Same thing happened a couple of years ago on Mission st. In that case, the normal power lines shorted and actually melted through, and then fell down onto the MUNI wires and knocked those out, too.

  3. alabama says:

    PG&E’s outbound notifications confusingly said my power was restored when it clearly wasn’t. Turns out they didn’t have a way to distinguish between those restored and the 75 houses that were still out. Power to those last 75 houses was restored after about 4.5 hours.

    The PG&E repair workers were really nice about the whole thing, so there’s that…

  4. “a tale of powerlessness” :)

  5. Greg says:

    Put those BART rejects to work.