PG&E Urges Customers To Be Safe and Keep Metallic Balloons Secure For Valentine's Day Celebrations

Metallic Balloons That Contact Electric Lines Often Cause Power Outages and Injuries

Balloon caused outages (Graphic: Business Wire)

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Flowers. Chocolates. Teddy Bears. Candle-lit dinners with your sweetheart. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) encourages its customers to look for the perfect way to tell that special someone that they really light up their lives while staying safe. Of course, balloons are one of the best ways to add a touch of fun and whimsy to show your valentine just how much you really care.

While there’s no denying that love will be in the air this February 14th, there’s one thing that shouldn’t be: unweighted balloons. If balloons—particularly metallic ones—come into contact with overhead power lines, they can disrupt electric service and cause significant property damage and potentially result in serious injuries. That’s why PG&E is urging customers to use weights to secure all helium balloons to prevent them from floating away.

Last year, more than 300 outages occurred because unsecured metallic balloons floated into PG&E power lines, ultimately affecting electric service to more than 155,000 homes and businesses throughout Northern and Central California. Sometimes these outages interrupt electric service to important facilities such as hospitals, schools and traffic lights. But don’t take our word for it, you can see for yourself by checking out this video that shows how balloons can damage power lines by checking out the following link: PG&E Mylar Balloon Safety

"Everybody loves a candlelit dinner, but nothing kills the mood quite like a power outage. That’s why it’s important to make sure that we safely secure metallic balloons to prevent them from contact with energized wires and posing a serious safety risk,” said Jason Regan, PG&E's director of Emergency Management and Response.

To help ensure that the only sparks flying this Valentine's Day are the romantic kind, PG&E reminds customers to follow these important balloon safety tips:

  • "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. For everyone's safety, never permit metallic balloons to be released outside.
  • 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.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Contacts

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Blake Sumner, 415-973-5930

Contacts

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Blake Sumner, 415-973-5930