Mylar balloons cause more than 20,000 to lose power in Santa Clarita

Crews work to restore power to approximately 20,000 residents after a foreign object caused equipment to fail at the Canyon Country substation. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Mylar balloons tangled with a power substation Friday night, cutting power to more than 20,000 customers in Canyon Country, Newhall and Saugus.

A Southern California Edison official cautioned against careless use of the metallic balloons around 9 p.m., while about 15,000 customers were still awaiting restoration of their service.

“The reason is Mylar balloons that landed in the North Oak substation that tangled up in the transformer racks,” said Ron Gales, a spokesman for Southern California Edison. “People should always tie down their Mylar balloons.”

Southern California Edison crew members were working to restore power at the station as of 9:37 p.m., and confirmed the existence of at least two sets of balloons — one that had caused the outage above the facility, and another that workers were attempting to remove that could potentially cause a second outage. The outage started at 7:17 p.m., Gales said.

Power was expected to be restored to most customers by about 11 p.m., according to the Southern California Edison website. Gales said the website would continue to be updated regularly as service was restored.

The outage at the substation, located at 18308 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country, affected customers throughout Santa Clarita, Gales said.

Power at The Signal’s offices in Centre Pointe went down shortly after 7 p.m., but the newspaper was able to continue production with support from SCVTV, which hosted the newsroom operations at its Newhall headquarters to enable the paper to make its print deadline for Saturday’s edition.

“Southern California Edison does put out warnings and advisories about not releasing metallic balloons into the air,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, “because the next thing you know, there are thousands of residents without power, and it’s a horrible time to be without poower with the heat wave we’re facing.”

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