PG&E to Customers: Stay Safe on Valentine’s Day, Keep Metallic Balloons Secure

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and many customers will celebrate
with festive bundles of metallic balloons. Pacific Gas and Electric
Company (PG&E) urges customers to securely tie a weight to all metallic
balloons containing helium to prevent them from floating away. Metallic
balloons that contact overhead power lines can disrupt electric service
to an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and
potentially result in serious injuries.

Last year, metallic balloons were the cause of 503 power outages across
PG&E’s service area in Northern and Central California, disrupting
electric service to more than 265,000 homes and businesses. Unlike latex
helium balloons, metallic balloons can stay inflated and floating for
two to three weeks – posing a hazard to power lines and equipment even
days after being released outside.

“We want to make sure all of our customers are able to spend a safe
Valentine’s Day with their friends, family and loved ones. Safety
doesn’t take a holiday, even on Valentine’s. Please keep metallic
balloons away from power lines as they can cause power outages and
injuries. Make sure your time is well spent on the 14th by following a
few basic safety steps,” said Mike Kress, PG&E’s Senior Director of
Field Operations.

The number of power outages caused by metallic balloons in PG&E’s
service area has more than doubled over the past decade and increased by
nearly 6 percent from 2017 to 2018. In order to significantly reduce
this number and to help ensure that everyone can safely enjoy their
Valentine’s Day, 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. Never permit metallic
    balloons to be released outside, for everyone’s safety.
  • 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. Other
    tips can be found at pge.com/beprepared

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 24,000 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.

Contacts

Media Relations
415-973-5930