published Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Valentine's gift blamed for California power outage

A Valentine's Day gift is being blamed for a power outage in Southern California.

Southern California Edison spokesman David Song says a helium-filled balloon scored a direct hit on the company's Fontana substation Tuesday night, knocking out power to 15,099 customers.

Song tells The Press-Enterprise the balloon was likely a Valentine's gift. He says it dropped into the substation at about 8:40 p.m.

Song says a utility crew rushed to the station and had the power restored by 9:51 p.m.

The substation was the second to encounter problems in Southern California on Tuesday night. A Huntington Beach substation went out at 7:42 p.m., affecting 21,285 customers. Song says power was restored there at 10:38 p.m.

The cause of that outage wasn't immediately known.

Song says balloon-caused outages occur most often around Valentine's Day and in June during school graduations.

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