More than 3,000 SRP customers were without electricity in Gilbert early Saturday afternoon when a cluster of Mylar balloons came in contact with power lines in the area, officials said.
Kathleen Mascarenas, an SRP spokeswoman, said the balloons struck power lines near Pecos and Greenfield roads, triggering an outage that included a nearby substation.
The outage, which began at 12:40 p.m., affected customers between Greenfield and Higley roads, and Ray and Germann roads.
Among the affected was San Tan Village, a popular outdoor shopping and entertainment center.
“We were just in the area to get an oil change,” Taylor Hegglin said. “We got turned away at Jacksons Car Wash because there was no power. One of the employees said five transformers blew.”
SRP warned its customers around graduation season to avoid releasing Mylar balloons as a way to celebrate.
“The metallic material that gives Mylar balloons the attractive shine also makes them energy conductors,” said Wayne Wisdom, SRP senior director of Distribution Grid Services. “When they touch a power line or equipment at a substation, Mylar balloons can cause a surge in electricity, which can lead to a short circuit.”
SRP said flyaway Mylar balloons annually cause up to 80 power outages in its service territory, which can impact tens of thousands of customers. They can also cause fires, damage property or people can be injured.
“It can disrupt service when people need to have air conditioning and keep cool, especially right now,” Mascarenas said.
Power was estimated to be fully restored by 3 p.m., but all customers were brought back online by about 2 p.m.
Reporter Adrian Marsh contributed to this article.
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