One last lesson for the class of 2021: Mylar balloons can spoil the party

APS offers tips to reduce Mylar balloon-caused outages and keep customers safe around power lines

PHOENIX – Graduation season is upon us and while many soon-to-be graduates are eager to toss their mortarboards high in the sky, APS reminds customers to keep a tight grip on their festive balloons during their outdoor celebrations. Metallic balloons, also known as Mylar balloons, can cause major power outages and create dangerous conditions when they come in contact with energized power lines.

So far this year, balloons caused 24 power outages in APS service territory, interrupting service to over 9,000 APS customers. Most balloon-related outages take place between Valentine’s Day and graduation season.

While fun and festive, the shiny, metallic coating on Mylar balloons conduct electricity and can cause a short circuit or power surge – often disrupting service to customers, melting electrical wires, sparking fires, damaging property and even injuring people, pets and wildlife.

A Mylar balloon in contact with a power line igniting a spark
To keep the celebration going on your student’s special day, APS recommends the following safety 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.
  • 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 and your personal 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 lineman with the proper safety equipment in a controlled environment.)

To learn more about ways to stay safe at home and indoors, read our energy hazard safety facts.

APS serves more than 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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