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Outages A Threat From Balloons

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, February 13, 2012

That's because a lot of people will be getting metallic balloons for Valentine's Day…and some of those balloons could float away. Brittany McKannay is with Pacific Gas and Electric Company. 

"Helium-filled balloons can create somewhat of a risk with electrical lines. So we urge customers to securely tie down metallic balloons that are containing helium to prevent them from floating away."

McKannay says last year, metallic balloons that drifted into PG&E power lines caused nearly 300 outages…affecting electric service to more than 150,000 customers in Northern and Central California. 

A few years ago, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have warned consumers about the dangers of releasing helium-filled metallic balloons. Supporters of the bill originally wanted an outright ban on the balloons.

The bill would've required labels on the balloons warning of the danger when they contact power lines.

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