The booms you heard Sunday afternoon across Capitol Hill and the Central District? That was the central city’s surprisingly robust power grid doing what it needed to do to keep service intact even when faced with the greatest electricity infrastructure scourge known — the mylar balloon.
Seattle City Light said there were no prolonged outages but that many callers reported “mylar balloons in the lines.”
CHS had one report of balloons in the wires on 15th Ave E.
Residents reported loud booms from electrical utility gear throughout the early afternoon. The utility also made a District 3 endorsement — of sorts. City Light says D3 candidate Logan Bowers’s Twitter explanation of what was causing the booms was, ahem, “bang on” —
Large power line fuses blow with a bang (example video). If there was a short on the line (say a tree branch or piece of metal), everyone would lose power until the fuse blows and isolates the short.
Beyond the flickers and the surges, full blown power outages around Capitol Hill and the 23rd Ave core of Central District are increasingly rare. CHS reported a few years back on how lower than expected demand, large infrastructure improvements related to light rail, and upgrades thanks to unrelenting redevelopment were conspiring to produce a surprisingly robust power grid in Central Seattle.
Tree limbs, of course, are still a challenge but the real menace? There was a rare outage affecting businesses around Broadway during Capitol Hill Block Party last month but it wasn’t Lizzo’s fault. Blame the greatest electricity infrastructure scourge known, city light says it was more of those damn mylar balloons.
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