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Anne DeGraw
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february 10, 2017
balloons pose hazard to electrical grid
aps offers suggestions to reduce outages and keep customers safe
PHOENIX – There are five different love languages you can utilize this Valentine’s Day. Causing a power outage in the name of your loved one definitely isn’t on that list. Unfortunately, power outages have become a hazardous part of the Valentine’s Day season due to a seemingly innocent culprit: Mylar balloons.
These balloons damage power lines and cause outages that impact thousands of homes and businesses across the state. Mylar balloons, the shiny balloons made out of metallic fibers, can short or melt an electrical wire, potentially resulting in power outages, fires and even injury.
Throughout 2016, balloons caused 81 outages, interrupting service to nearly 55,000 APS customers. This is nearly double the number of outages our customers experienced from balloons in 2015.
To reduce the risk of outages caused by balloons, APS offers these five suggestions:
  1. Keep balloons indoors and away from overhead power lines. Even non-metallic balloons can become entangled in lines and cause an outage.
  2. Always attach a weight to metallic balloons and keep them tethered at all times.
  3. Never play with balloons, kites, or drones around overhead power lines.
  4. Always deflate balloons and dispose of them properly when no longer in use.
  5. Always assume power lines are energized. Keep yourself, your equipment and all other items at least 10 feet away from power lines.
To watch a demonstration of what happens when balloons come in contact with overhead lines, click here. This demonstration was performed by a trained lineman with the proper safety equipment in a controlled environment. 
APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean safe and reliable electricity. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50 percent carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, and owns and operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s top power producer and largest producer of carbon-free energy. The company is also a proven leader in introducing technology and services that offer customers choice and control over their energy consumption. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).