Safe graduation celebrations

Mylar balloons can cause power outages

The one thing you see a lot around graduation season? Glossy Mylar balloons – a popular and festive way to celebrate new graduates! What few people realize, though, is that if revelers don’t securely hold or tether the shiny bouquets, they can leave people in the dark.

Each year, flyaway Mylar balloons cause up to 80 power outages in SRP’s service territory, which can impact tens of thousands of customers. They can also cause fires, damage property or people can be injured.

“The metallic material, which gives Mylar balloons the attractive shine, also makes them energy conductors,” said Wayne Wisdom, Senior Director of Distribution Grid Services at SRP. “When they touch a power line or equipment at a substation, Mylar balloons can cause a surge in electricity, which can lead to a short circuit.”

John Coggins, Senior Director of Power Delivery, added: “Providing reliable power for our customers is paramount. It’s important that people know these types of outages are easily avoidable.”

Residents should never attempt to retrieve a balloon from an overhead power line or touch them.

SRP crews recently removed this Mylar balloon from an overhead power line. Each year, more than 80 outages are linked to such avoidable incidents.

Tips to prevent Mylar balloon outages:

  • Keep a tight grip at all times
  • Don’t celebrate by releasing balloons after graduations, weddings or momentous events
  • Tether balloons tightly and attach to a weight
  • Use regular string or ribbon, not slippery Mylar string
  • Completely deflate of helium before disposing of Mylar balloons

Customers are encouraged to call SRP Residential Customer Services at (602) 236-8888 if debris is caught in a power line. Highly trained crews will safely remove debris. For safety reasons, people, equipment and all belongings should remain at least 10 feet away from power lines.

When outages do occur, SRP customers can also stay connected with a new SRP Mobile App for smart phones and tablets.

Click here for more electrical safety tips, and our congrats to all graduates!

Featured photo: SRP crews removing Mylar balloon remnants. At least three balloons caught in a 69kV power line caused a power outage in March 2017.



SRP delivers high-value electricity and water for the benefit of our customers, shareholders and the communities we serve. We are a community-based nonprofit utility and the largest provider of electricity in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. We also are the largest provider of water to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to agricultural, urban and municipal water users.

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