Graduation season is upon us and it may look a little different this year -- being in the midst of a pandemic and all --- but electric companies are sharing a familiar warning: keep your Mylar balloons away from our power lines.
Don't get San Diego Gas & Electric wrong. The utility knows graduating is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated. But let your caps soar, not your helium-filled decorations, the utility says.
"The thing that makes Mylar balloons so shiny is also the thing that can cause an electric outage if the metallic coating makes contact with a power line," SDG&E says.
Despite a lack of graduation ceremonies due to a stay-at-home order that prevents gatherings, SDG&E still noted a surge of baloon-related outages this time of year as families turn to drive-by celebrations to honor their graduate's accomplishments.
In the last week alone, SDG&E said there had been seven power outages that were Mylar balloon-related. The outages affected about 3,800 customers combined.
The utility has the following tips to prevent causing an outage:
- After your celebration, deflate your Mylar balloons to make sure they don't float away. It's the partially deflated ones that can easily become airborne, SDG&E says
- Keep your balloons indoors whenever possible and when they must be outdoors, keep them securely fastened
- Make sure the store that sold them to you attaches a weight to your balloons. This is mandated by the state of California
And if your balloon does become entangled in a powerline, call for help right away. SDG&E is available at (800) 411-7343 or if it is an emergency, call 911.