Balloons blamed for Wednesday power outage in Lewiston

Apr. 25—LEWISTON — Foil balloons shorted out power lines in the Kennedy Park area Wednesday night, knocking out power to nearly 2,000 customers for nearly two hours.

Central Maine Power Co. workers removed Mylar (metal-coated) balloons and debris from power lines at 11 Ash St. and restored power to roughly 1,800 customers at about 9:49 p.m., CMP spokesman John Breed said Thursday.

When the helium-filled balloons floated up, they conducted electricity across power lines, causing a short circuit at about 7:53 p.m., Breed said.

Line workers replaced the insulator at the cross-arm of the utility pole at 11 Ash St. to restore power to the area, Breed said.

Although Breed said he hasn't seen a power outage caused by balloons in the year-and-a-half he's been at CMP, he said Mylar balloons have been known to knock out power in other places in a similar manner.

"It's certainly something that we know can result in an outage," he said.

Breed said he wasn't aware of which special occasion the offending balloon were being used to celebrate.

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