Don't Let Mylar Balloons Ruin the Party: Keep Them Away from Power Lines

May has arrived and that means Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation celebrations are around the corner. These festivities are often accompanied by Mylar balloons – colorful, festive decorations that, when too close to power lines, can pose a safety hazard to our electric system.  San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is urging you to be aware of the dangers that Mylar balloons can create if not kept at a safe distance from power lines.

When Mylar balloons are left untethered outside, they may float into power lines, become tangled and cause unexpected power outages. The metallic coating—or Mylar—on the balloons conducts electricity, so when it meets a power line, it can not only cause an outage in your neighborhood, but can even spark an electrical fire.

Last year, Long Beach experienced a frightening situation involving a Mylar balloon that hit power lines creating an explosive reaction, leading to a power outage that lasted for hours. At SDG&E, we’ve seen an increased number of Mylar balloon contacts over the past few years that have also resulted in power outages. In 2017, there were 124 reported outages caused by Mylar balloon contacts and another 30 incidents so far this year.

Your safety, the safety of our employees and our community is our highest priority. To avoid future outages and safety hazards, the following tips will provide helpful information if you see a Mylar balloon near overhead power lines:

  • Be sure to keep Mylar balloons indoors.
  • If you see a Mylar balloon at an outdoor gathering, make sure that it is securely tied down or attached to a weight.
  • When disposing of a Mylar balloon, puncture it in several places. Partially-inflated Mylar balloons can easily become airborne.
  • If a Mylar balloon, kite or any object becomes entangled in an overhead power line, call 9-1-1 or SDG&E at 800-411-7343. Do not try to remove it yourself.

For more information on safety, please visit SDG&E’s website at sdge.com/safety or call 800-411-SDGE (7343).