SRP Urges Community to Keep Mylar Balloons Away from Power Lines During Graduation Celebrations
Shiny Mylar balloons may be a great way to celebrate graduation, but they can also be a hazard when it comes to power lines. The metallic material that gives them that attractive shine also makes them energy conductors.
When they touch a power line or hit equipment at a substation, they can very likely cause a power outage. This will typically result in service impacts to both residential and commercial customers. Besides an outage, it can also cause fire, property damage or even serious injuries.
“What starts as a celebration can quickly escalate into thousands of people out of power, so it’s important to understand the dangers of Mylar balloons to power lines,” said SRP Director of Customer Strategy Steve Lopez. “Feel free to throw your graduation cap in the air, but please avoid letting go of a balloon.”
Outages caused by Mylar balloons getting caught on SRP’s high-voltage transmission system occur on average about twice a month with more incidents also likely related to balloons affecting electric facilities. Such outages can impact tens of thousands of customers.
The balloons can accidentally float away while you put them inside a car, or children can lose their grip while playing with them outside. It’s not just the accidental releases. People often also celebrate by releasing balloons during graduations or weddings.
Follow these tips if you purchase Mylar balloons:
- Keep them tethered at all times and attached to a weight.
- Use regular string or ribbon. Avoid using shiny, Mylar string.
- Make sure no helium is left inside before disposing of them.
- Never try to retrieve a balloon from an overhead power line and never touch power lines. Instead, call SRP Residential Customer Services at (602) 236-8888 to notify us of an object you see caught in a power line. We will safely remove it.
- Keep people, any equipment or other belongings at least 10 feet away from power lines.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.