Mylar balloon caught in a power line

A Common Culprit of Power Outages: Mylar Balloons

Shiny, colorful and festive, Mylar balloons typically bring smiles to picnics, graduation parties, birthday celebrations and family gatherings.

But there are times when they also bring frowns. Last week, a loose Mylar balloon caught in our power lines in the Hillcrest/Old Town/Mission Hills area caused an electric outage impacting about 2,000 people.

Over the past five years, Mylar balloons have been the cause of more than 500 power outages on our region’s transmission and distribution systems.

When Mylar balloons are left untethered outside, they may float into power lines, cause an electrical surge and blow the circuit. 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.

Your safety, the safety of our employees and our community is our highest priority. Help us prevent outages and safety hazards by keeping the following tips in mind if you plan on celebrating an occasion with Mylar balloons

  • 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.