NEWARK, NJ – It’s that time of year again, when Union residents host parties for graduations, weddings, and backyard get-togethers.  And apparently the current global helium shortage hasn’t stopped many from celebrating with popular Mylar balloons. 

But, says Public Service Electric and Gas Company, keeping balloons away from power lines is essential to public safety. PSE&G reminds customers that proper handling and disposal of Mylar balloons prevents them from drifting into power lines and causing power outages.

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

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The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity. 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.

To reduce the risk of outages and injuries, PSE&G recommends 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.
  • 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.