PG&E Promotes Electrical Safety for Mother’s Day

Customers Urged to Keep Metallic Balloons Away from Power Lines, Among Other Safety Tips

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Our mothers deserve to be showered with love for all they do. This Mother’s Day, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges everyone to keep the sparkle and flash to family photography, and to avoid unweighted metallic balloons, which can potentially cause electric service disruptions, significant property damage or serious injuries, if they come in contact with overhead power lines.

“Mothers deserve to be surrounded by happy, healthy families on their special day. If you are including metallic balloons as part of your celebration, we urge you to take precautions and safely secure them to prevent them from coming into contact with energized wires and posing a serious safety risk”

In 2014, more than 300 power outages were caused by metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines, affecting electric service to more than 155,000 homes and businesses throughout Northern and Central California. On Wednesday, May 6, a metallic balloon created a serious public safety hazard and disrupted service to more than 4,300 customers in the East Bay when it became tangled in overhead power lines.

Outages caused by metallic balloons can interrupt electric service to important facilities such as hospitals, schools and traffic lights. See for yourself the damage balloons can do to overhead power lines by checking out the following video: PG&E Mylar Balloon Safety. So if you’re celebrating Mother’s Day with helium balloons, make sure they are secured with a weight to prevent them from floating away.

"Mothers deserve to be surrounded by happy, healthy families on their special day. If you are including metallic balloons as part of your celebration, we urge you to take precautions and safely secure them to prevent them from coming into contact with energized wires and posing a serious safety risk,” said Jason Regan, PG&E's director of emergency management.

The number of power outages caused by metallic balloons in PG&E's service area has more than doubled over the past decade. To reduce this number and to help ensure that everyone can enjoy Mother’s Day safely, PG&E reminds customers to follow these important safety tips for metallic balloons:

  • "Look Up and Live!" Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Make sure helium-filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never remove the weight.
  • When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors. For everyone's safety, never permit metallic balloons to be released outside.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.
  • 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. Stay far away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Joe Molica, 415-973-5930

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