Feb 13, 2018
More metallic balloons are sold for Valentine’s Day than any other holiday and, not surprisingly, it’s also around this time of year that customers suffer from outages caused by unsecured metallic balloons drifting into power lines. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reminds its customers as they celebrate their sweethearts to make sure balloons are always tied to a weight –as required by California law – and to never release them outdoors.
“Metallic balloons are conductors of electricity and pose a significant threat to power lines if released into the air. It takes only one metallic balloon to inconvenience thousands of customers, cause significant property damage and potentially result in serious injuries,” said Dave Canny, senior manager of PG&E’s North Bay and Sonoma Divisions.
Last year, metallic balloons were the cause of 456 power outages across PG&E’s service area, located in Northern and Central California, disrupting electric service to more than 371,000 homes and businesses. In Sonoma County, there was a decrease in metallic balloon-related outages from nine in 2016 to just six in 2017. However, those six outages impacted at least 1,000 customers at different times.
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.
PG&E urges customers to follow these important safety tips for handling metallic balloons:
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