Mylar Balloons Cause Weekend Power Outages

By On August 26, 2013

A power outage in Burbank occurred on Saturday, August 24, at 9:44 p.m. and Burbank Water & Power crews restored power at 12:50 a.m., August 25.  The outage affected 496 residential and 4 commercial customers in the vicinity of North-South Birmingham & Cornell and East-West Sunset & Sixth.

Another outage occurred on Sunday, August 25, at 3:09 p.m. and power was restored at 3:25 p.m.  The outage affected 948 residential and 16 commercial customers in the vicinity of North-South Vanowen & Victory and East-West Victory Pl & Buena Vista and North-South Empire & Victory and East-West Buena Vista & Catalina.

The cause of both outages was determined to be Mylar balloons.

When a Mylar balloon touches a power line or floats into substation equipment, their metallic properties cause a surge of electricity, according to Joe Flores at BW&P. This can cause equipment to short circuit and lead to power outages, fires and possible injuries.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of consumers experience power outages caused by Mylar balloons contacting electrical equipment. To reduce these outages and help keep power and lights on, remember the following tips:

·Keep balloons tethered at all times and attached to a weight.

·When disposing of Mylar balloons, make sure to puncture them to ensure lingering helium doesn’t cause them to float and blow around if the garbage container is overturned.

·If a balloon or another toy becomes entangled in an overhead power line, don’t attempt to retrieve it. Call your utility for assistance.

Always assume power lines are live, and keep yourself, your equipment and all other items at least 10 feet away from power lines.