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Shiny Balloons and the Electric Grid: What You Need to Know

When gathering with loved ones, families and friends to celebrate, remember not to lose sight of foil balloons. MylarWhen foil-coated balloons, also known as Mylar balloons come in contact with a power line or other electric equipment, their metallic properties can cause a surge of electricity that can impede equipment. Untethered balloons cause thousands of unnecessary electric service interruptions each year for Pepco customers. These balloons also have been known to float for days and can end up having a negative impact on the environment.

The good news is that these types of outages are easily preventable. Pepco encourages customers to help reduce foil balloon-related power outages and ensure safety by keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Keep balloons tethered at all times and attached to weights.
  • Properly dispose of foil balloons by puncturing the balloon to release helium that otherwise could cause the balloon to float away.
  • Consider an alternate way to celebrate that doesn’t involve balloons. Check out for unique ideas on how to celebrate, remember and honor the people who impact our lives without the use of balloons.
  • NEVER touch a power line. Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon or toy that is entangled in an overhead power line. For assistance, call Pepco at 1-877-737-2662.
  • Always assume power lines are energized and keep yourself, your belongings and anything you are carrying at least 10 feet away at all times.

Pepco customers can learn more safety tips by visiting