APS WARNING: Spark romance, not power outages this Valentine’s Day

PHOENIX – While public celebrations were close to non-existent in 2020, metallic balloons, also known as Mylar balloons, had a field day on APS’s electrical grid. With love in the air, APS reminds customers balloons should stay grounded. Balloons released into the air can cause dangerous power outages and damage as they come in contact with overhead lines and electrical equipment.

Last year alone, balloons caused 75 power outages in APS service territory, impacting more than 56,000 customers. While most balloon-related outages take place between Valentine’s Day and graduation season, one balloon this year already caused an outage that lasted 13 hours.

The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity and can cause a short circuit or power surge that can lead to large-scale outages, melting of electrical wires, fires, property damage and even injuries to wildlife, pets and people.

A bunch of colorful mylar balloons

To keep balloons away from power lines, APS offers the following tips:

  • Only use balloons indoors and away from overhead power lines. Even non-metallic balloons can become entangled in lines and cause an outage.
  • Always attach a weight to metallic balloons or keep them tethered at all times. In the famous words of Rose in the movie Titanic, “Never let go.”
  • Never play with balloons, kites or drones around overhead power lines.
  •  Always deflate balloons and dispose of them properly when no longer in use.
  • Always assume power lines are energized. Keep yourself, your equipment and all other items at least 100 feet away from power lines.

This video demonstration shows what happens when metallic balloons come in contact with overhead lines. (This video is for demonstration purposes only and was performed by a trained APS lineman using proper safety equipment in a controlled environment.)

APS serves nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is a leader in delivering affordable, clean and reliable energy in the Southwest. The company is committed to serving customers with 100% clean power by 2050. As owner and operator of Palo Verde Generating Station, the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free electricity, and with one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, APS’s current energy mix is 50% clean. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

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