With graduation season in full swing, glossy Mylar balloons are a popular and festive way to celebrate the pomp and circumstance. SRP reminds revelers to securely hold or tether shiny bouquets because they can leave people in the dark.
“The metallic material, which gives Mylar balloons the attractive shine, also makes them energy conductors,” said Wayne Wisdom, SRP senior director of Distribution Grid Services. “When they touch a power line or equipment at a substation, Mylar balloons can cause a surge in electricity, which can lead to a short circuit.”
Annually, flyaway Mylar balloons cause up to 80 power outages in SRP’s service territory, which can impact tens of thousands of customers. They can also cause fires, damage property or people can be injured.
“Providing reliable power for our customers is paramount. It’s important that people know these types of outages are easily avoidable,” said John Coggins, SRP senior director of Power Delivery. “We also remind our customers to never attempt to retrieve a balloon from an overhead power line or touch them.”
- Tips to prevent Mylar balloon outages:
- Keep a tight grip at all times
- Don’t celebrate by releasing balloons after graduations, weddings or momentous events
- Tether tightly and attach to a weight
- Use regular string or ribbon, not slippery Mylar string
- Completely deflate helium before disposing of Mylar balloons.
Customers are encouraged to call SRP Residential Customer Services at (602) 236-8888 if debris is caught in a power line. Highly trained crews will safely remove debris. For safety, people, equipment and all belongings should remain at least 10 feet away from power lines.
When outages do occur, SRP customers can also stay connected with a new SRP Mobile App for smart phones and tablets. To download for no charge, visit the App Store or Google Play and search using the keywords “SRP Power.”
SRP is the nation’s third-largest public power utility and the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also delivers about 800,000 acre-feet of water annually to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.
Sources: SRP and City of Glendale