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Mylar Balloon Causes Another Power Outage

Mylar Balloon Causes Another Power Outage

Did you know that metallic foil or mylar balloons are a major cause of power outages? On July 2, 2018, a mylar balloon became entangled in power lines in Palo Alto and caused a power outage for 1,800 customers. This is the second outage in 30 days caused by a mylar balloon. 

On June 2, 2018 a mylar balloon caused a power outage for about 4,500 customers.

When coming in contact with power lines, these balloons can explode and catch fire, creating a dangerous situation. Not only are power outages disruptive to all of us, this situation can also cause injuries, road closures, property damage, and more. 

When celebrating an occasion, please consider an alternative to mylar balloons. Otherwise, please keep track of those balloons!

The City of Palo Alto Utilities values your safety. Here are some helpful tips for handling balloons:

  • Make sure helium-filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away.
  • Never permit metallic balloons to be released outside.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve anything that becomes caught in a power line.
  • 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.  Keep far away and immediately alert 911.


Thank you for your efforts to help keep all of us safe. Visit us at cityofpaloalto.org/safeutility to learn how to contact us in the event of an emergency, stay prepared before a hazard strikes, and contact us for free helpful resources for safety and emergency preparedness.

In the event of a power outage, check out our online outage map for immediate updates. 

Follow us on Twitter @pautilities or Facebook @PaloAltoUtilities for important news and information.

Last Updated: July 3, 2018