February 13, 2013 | Back to: News

PG&E: Release of metallic balloons can cause outages


Residents of Northern California need to practice their romance responsibly, a utility company said on Wednesday.

Many people celebrate their respective loves with the release of metallic helium-filled balloons, a practice that can lead to power outages and serious injuries.

“Pacific Gas and Electric Company urges customers to securely tie a weight to all metallic balloons containing helium to prevent them from floating away,” the company said in a press release. “Metallic balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage, and potentially result in serious personal injuries.”

Last year, metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines caused nearly 300 outages, affecting electric service to more than 150,000 PG&E customers throughout Northern and Central California, the release states. In order to significantly reduce such outages, and so everyone can safely enjoy their Valentine’s Day, individuals should not celebrate with metallic balloons near electric lines, securely tie them, avoid bundling them together and wherever possible keep balloons indoors.

Additionally, individuals are urged not to touch any object that gets caught in a power line or touch power lines that have fallen to the ground.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda email mrenda@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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The Union Updated Mar 29, 2013 09:22PM Published Feb 15, 2013 03:26PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.