NEWARK, N.J. –  Ahead of graduation, PSE&G is reminding residents to be safe when carrying Mylar balloons.

“Although the current global helium shortage hasn’t stopped many celebrants from carrying Mylar balloons to graduations and other parties, keeping balloons away from power lines is essential to public safety. Public Service Electric and Gas Company, New Jersey’s largest utility, reminds customers that proper handling and disposal of Mylar balloons prevents them from drifting into power lines and causing power outages,” said the company in a statement.

The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity, explained the company. Because of this, when a Mylar balloon touches a power line or floats into substation equipment it can cause a short circuit. This contact can lead to downed wires, power outages, fires and injuries.

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According to PSE&G, last summer, Mylar balloons caused two noteworthy  outages, with one that lasted six minutes and affected more than 3,500 customers and another that lasted 35 minutes and affected nearly 4,000 customers.

To reduce the risk of outages and injuries, PSE&G is offering customers the following safety tips:

  • NEVER touch a power line. Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, kite, or other types of toys or debris entangled in an overhead power line or substation. Call PSE&G to report the problem at 1-800-436-7734 so our crews can remove the item safely.                                                                                             
  • Keep Mylar balloons and other decorations away from overhead power lines and all utility equipment.    
  • Do not fly kites or hold Mylar balloons in the rain, during electrical storms nor while crossing streets.       
  • Keep balloons tethered at all times. Make sure balloons are secured to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away.                                       
  • Always dispose of Mylar balloons properly by safely puncturing the balloon in several places to release the helium that otherwise could cause the balloon to float away.