Two separate power outages in Berkeley yesterday were caused by metallic balloons triggering shortages short circuits, according to a PG&E spokesperson.

Over 5,800 customers lost power before 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, and a separate outage affected 1,000 customers just before midnight.

Power was restored to most of the customers from the earlier outage by 8:00 p.m., but some customers only had power restored at around 5:00 a.m. this morning.

According to PG&E, there were 250 outages last year in northern and central California caused by helium-filled metallic balloons.

The company urges people to ensure metallic balloons are secured to a weight that prevents them from floating away. It advises to avoid bundling balloons.

And if a balloon does become entangled in a power line, never attempt to retrieve it, the company says.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...