RICHMOND -- Over 1,000 residents were without power Thursday after a metallic balloon struck a power line in the city's Iron Triangle, according to a PG&E spokeswoman.

The outage was first reported at 2:37 p.m. at 4th Street and Barrett Avenue, according to Tamar Sarkissian of PG&E. At the peak of the outage, 1,059 people were without power.

As of 4 p.m., only 220 remained without power, and full restoration was expected shortly.

Sarkissian said outages due to metallic balloons hitting power lines is not uncommon. When they do strike power lines, however, these small, celebratory accessories can cause major damage, including knocking out power in entire neighborhoods, property damage and in some cases, injuries.

In 2012, Sarkissian said, metallic balloons that struck power lines throughout PG&E's coverage area -- northern and parts of central California -- caused nearly 290 outages and affected services to over 134,000 homes and businesses.

PG&E asks that people who do use the balloons keep them tied to a weight and if possible, keep them indoors. Do not release them outside and do not bundle them together, the agency added.

A second outage reported in Oakland that reportedly affected 443 customers was planned by PG&E, and customers in the area were notified, Sarkissian said.

Check back for updates.

Contact Katie Nelson at 925-945-4782 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.



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