PG&E To Customers: Stay Safe On Valentine’s Day, Keep Metallic Balloons Secure

February 13, 2020 10:00 am · 2 comments

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and many customers will celebrate with festive bundles of metallic balloons.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges customers to securely tie a weight to all metallic balloons containing helium to prevent them from floating away. Metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and potentially result in serious injuries.

In 2019, metallic balloons striking electric lines caused 376 power outages in PG&E’s service area alone, disrupting electric service to more than 179,000 homes and businesses.

Unlike latex helium balloons, metallic balloons can stay inflated and floating for two to three weeks – posing a hazard to power lines and equipment even days after being released outside.

The number of power outages caused by metallic balloons in PG&E’s service area has more than doubled over the past decade and increased by nearly 6 percent from 2017 to 2018. In order to significantly reduce this number and to help ensure that everyone can safely enjoy their Valentine’s Day, PG&E reminds customers to follow these important safety tips for metallic balloons:

  • “Look Up and Live!” Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Make sure helium-filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never remove the weight.
  • When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors. Never permit metallic balloons to be released outside, for everyone’s safety.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.
  • Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.
WC February 13, 2020 at 11:57 AM

I can hear it now… after a record number of balloons contacted the wires in 2020, we’ll need to raise rates.

chuckie the troll February 13, 2020 at 4:18 PM

Why are Helium-filled Mylar balloons still a thing? This has been a problem from day 1, but some people are still too selfish or ignorant to act responsibly.

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