The Phoenix area is right in the middle of high-school graduation season, and caps aren’t the only things that may be flying through the air.

Mylar balloons are another popular sight at graduations.

But those shiny balloons, which can be bought at any party store, result in up to 80 power outages every year in the Phoenix area when they come in contact with power lines, according to Salt River Project.

The power outages affect tens of thousands of people and can also cause fires, damage property and lead to injuries, SRP said in a press release.

The agency is urging people to celebrate with care if using the balloons, especially at outdoor graduation celebrations. 

“The metallic material, which gives Mylar balloons the attractive shine, also makes them energy conductors,” said Wayne Wisdom, SRP senior director of distribution grid services, in the release.

“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,” he added. 

SRP officials suggest people avoid letting balloons go up into the air, because what goes up, must come down. And sometimes the balloons come down onto power lines. 

“Never attempt to retrieve a balloon from an overhead power line,” said John Coggins, SRP senior director of power delivery. 

SRP encourages people to call 602-236-8888 if debris is caught in a power line. They will send a crew to retrieve it safely. 


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