Fill the Air With Love on Valentine’s Day, Not Metallic Balloons

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–There are at least 370 reasons that balloons should be tied to a weight.
That was the number of power outages in PG&E’s service territory in 2015
caused by untethered metallic balloons striking power lines. If those
balloons had been secured – as required by California law – that number
and the resulting safety hazards could have been drastically reduced.

If balloons—particularly metallic ones—come into contact with overhead
power lines, they can disrupt electric service, cause significant
property damage and potentially result in serious injuries. With
Valentine’s Day fast approaching, PG&E is urging customers to use
weights to secure all helium balloons to prevent them from floating away.

“Most people know that the leading cause of a ruined Valentine’s Day is
a bad break up. But a widespread power outage also can put a significant
damper on celebrations. That’s why it’s important to safely secure
metallic balloons to prevent them from contacting energized wires and
posing a serious safety risk,” said Jason Regan, director, PG&E
Emergency Management.

Last year, 370 outages – from Eureka to Bakersfield and points in
between – occurred because unsecured metallic balloons floated into PG&E
power lines, ultimately affecting electric service to more than 198,000
homes and businesses throughout Northern and Central California.
Sometimes these outages interrupt electric service to important
facilities such as hospitals, schools and traffic lights. But don’t take
our word for it, you can see for yourself by checking out this video
that shows how balloons can damage power lines: PG&E
Mylar Balloon Safety

To help ensure that the only sparks flying this Valentine’s Day are the
romantic kind, PG&E reminds customers to follow these important balloon
safety tips:

  • “Look Up and Live!” – Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic
    balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Make sure helium-filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a
    weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never
    remove the weight.
  • When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors. For everyone’s safety,
    never permit metallic balloons to be released outside.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that
    becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call
    PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.
  • Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is
    dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized
    and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away and
    immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E
(NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas
and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco,
with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the
nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and
Central California. For more information, visit


Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Megan McFarland, 415-973-5930