PG&E urges customers to secure metallic balloons to prevent outages
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.
Pacific Gas & Electric has issued its annual plea for the public to use extra care in handling helium-filled metallic balloons common to Valentine's Day, saying lost balloons caused 290 power outages in Northern and Central California last year.
The shiny balloons can cause a short circuit when they come into contact with energized power lines and in 2012 cut power to 134,000 customers just in the northern half of the state, PG&E said.
The incidence of outages caused by metallic balloons has more than doubled in the past decade, PG&E said.
Anyone possessing the balloons is asked to keep them indoors, use weights to keep them near ground level or keep them tethered to avoid a problem.
If a balloon does become tangled in a power line, it is dangerous to try to retrieve it, PG&E said.
Any such situation should be reported to PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
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