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Balloon Blamed For Major Power Outage in Santa Maria Valley

A metallic balloon is being blamed for causing a power outage to 6,870 customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company in the Santa Maria Valley on Wednesday.

The outage started at 5:45 p.m. and affected a wide swath of Santa Maria.

Power was fully restored by 6:49 p.m., PG&E spokeswoman Jacqueline Ratto said.

The incident serves a reminder to residents to use caution with foil balloons and avoid celebrating with them near overhead electrical lines. 

The number of power outages blames on metallic balloons as more than doubled in the past decade, Ratto said.

In 2013, metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines caused more than 300 outages, affecting electric service to nearly 165,000 homes and businesses throughout Northern and Central California, the utility firm said on its website, which includes a link to a video showing dangers and potential damage caused by the foil orbs.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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