Patches of power were lost throughout the county Monday as three cities experienced unrelated outages.
Thousands of customers were in the dark in Morro Bay, Atascadero and San Luis Obispo early Monday morning after problems stemming from equipment failure to a mylar-style balloon striking power lines, according to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokeswoman Sharon Gavin.
In San Luis Obispo, about 3,000 customers were without power downtown starting at 9:30 a.m. Most had been restored by about 10:45 a.m., Gavin said.
The outage caused drivers along Marsh Street to maneuver downtown intersections without the assistance of stoplights, and some businesses operated in the dark.
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The incident followed a report that a mylar-style balloon had struck power lines near Buchon Street.
The problem will be solved before there is an investigation into its cause. But Gavin said the combination metallic-polyester balloons have enough metal in them to conduct electricity.
“Mylar balloons frequently cause outages even if they don’t hit the wire,” she said. “They can cause an arc to go between the wires.”
North Morro Bay lost power to about 2,000 customers around 2 a.m. Most of the power was restored by 4 a.m. The cause of the outage was equipment failure, said Gavin.
Around 7 a.m. a small outage affected about 31 customers in Atascadero. Power to all of those affected was restored by about 9:30 a.m. The cause of that outage was unknown.
--Sally Connell and Leslie Parrilla