June 30, 2017 10:25 a.m.
Officials with Pacific Power say that balloons and power lines don’t mix.
Steve Harkin, director of safety and training for the utility, says that balloons can have unintended consequences for the power grid. Harkin says that even the smallest amount of metal content can conduct electricity. That can interfere with lines, causing power fluctuations and outages.
So far this year, Pacific Power has recorded 13 instances where balloons have caused outages somewhere in the three states the utility serves. Last year, there were 26 such outages.
Steve Harkin says there are steps you can take to minimize the potential dangers of balloons:
*Keep balloons indoors where they can’t rise into overhead power lines or drift into contact with transformers or substations.
*Make sure the string for each balloon is securely attached and short enough to control its direction.
*Attach a weight to the balloon’s string so it cannot float away, and never intentionally release metallic balloons.
*Deflate balloons after the holiday and keep as a memento or dispose of properly. Birds and squirrels have been known to carry balloon remnants onto the lines.
*Never chase a balloon near a power line or try to retrieve it from a line or a substation.
*If you notice a balloon near a power line, do not try to retrieve it. Report it to Pacific Power at 888-222-7070.
More safety information regarding power and power lines is available at www.pacificpower.net.