Power company issues warning about celebrations involving Mylar balloons

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KWQC) — As many high schools and colleges celebrate their graduations this month, utility company Ameren Illinois is bracing for potential trouble. The power company is asking the public to properly dispose of Mylar balloons in an effort to reduce the risk of potential power outages.

Mylar balloons are metallic and electrically conductive and can cut off power, start fires and cause significant damage when they come into contact with the power grid. Each year, Ameren Illinois responds to numerous power outages caused by Mylar balloons hitting electrical equipment. They also present a safety hazard to linemen who must untangle and remove balloons from energized power lines.

“We realize this is the time of year when everyone is outdoors celebrating new grads, newlyweds, birthdays and spring break,” said George Justice, Vice President of electrical operations for Ameren Illinois. “Keeping balloons tied up and weighted while in use, then puncturing and disposing of them properly afterwards can help ensure they don’t come loose and end up in our power lines and substations.”

If you notice a ball or other toy entangled in electrical infrastructure, always assume the line is live and do not attempt to remove the object yourself. Instead, call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 and a team will be dispatched to remove the item.

Ameren Illinois offers additional Mylar balloon safety tips:

· Do not intentionally release balloons.

· It is safer to keep metallic balloons indoors. In fact, some parks have banned metallic balloons on their property, so be aware of those warnings.

Never tie metallic ribbon to your balloon. Also, never tie a metallic balloon to a child’s arm. Both of these can pose significant electrical threats

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