Mylar balloon causes power outage in Palo Alto

The Palo Alto utilities department posted this photo of the balloon that caused tonight's outage.

Update 7:45 p.m.: The utilities department just tweeted that the cause of tonight’s power outage was a Mylar balloon that became tangled in power lines. It’s the second time in a month that  Palo Alto has a power outage caused by a Mylar balloon.

7:30 p.m.: Power was restored for many if not all customers at 7:30 p.m. No word on the cause.

6:45 p.m.: A power outage hit Palo Alto’s Midtown and Southgate neighborhoods at 6:29  tonight, affecting about 1,800 homes and businesses.

The city’s utilities department tweeted out the following:

“Power outage around Midtown/Southgate area. No known cause or estimated restoration yet; crews are working on it now. We’ll post updates here as more information becomes available.”

Traffic lights are out on Middlefield Road at Colorado Ave. The 7-Eleven in Colorado is without power but the lights are on at Safeway next door. No power at CVS or Starbucks, but Walgreens has electricity.

The city’s outage map earlier this evening.




  1. This happens every couple of weeks. What do we have to do to get reliable service. It’s not like we’re paying bargain prices. They keep raising their rates, but we still have these outages.

  2. Who doesn’t know that you shouldn’t get Mylar balloons near power lines? Do we have to ban them because people are so stupid? I hope not,

  3. Don’t be stupid, Shannon. You don’t have to be near a power line for something like this to occur. All that has to happen is for a mylar balloon to float away from someone … makes no difference how smart or stupid they are … helium-filled balloons get away from adults and kids all the time. All it takes is a quick slip or moment on inattention. Balloons carried by breezes eventually can contact (and short) wires either nearby or hours later in some distant location when they come back down (as they all eventually do).

  4. Don’t be stupid, Adrian. Smart people don’t buy mylar balloons because they know they are a hazard to the environment and to power lines. All you have to do is go to any graduation ceremony, the low IQ children are the one’s receiving balloons from their dullard families, they like shiny floaty things.

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