Advancing Clean Energy

Don’t let Mylar balloons ruin your party

September 23, 2019

Mylar balloons seem like a cute and shiny decoration, but don’t be fooled. One loose balloon can pose a hazard to the electrical system.

When metallic balloons, also known as Mylar balloons, contact outdoor power lines or electrical equipment, their metallic properties can cause a surge of electricity that may result in a power outage or fire.

Metallic balloons have caused more than 40,000 customer interruptions this year across communities ComEd serves. In the last five years, they have caused nearly 400,000 customer interruptions with 58 percent of the incidents occurring in Chicago. High concentrations of outages were near hospitals, parks and cemeteries.

ComEd encourages customers to help reduce power outages caused by foil balloons and ensure safety by following these tips:

  • Keep balloons secured and attached to weights at all times.
  • Properly dispose of metallic balloons by puncturing them to release helium that otherwise could cause them to float away.
  • 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 ComEd at 1-800-334-7661.
  • Always assume power lines are live. Keep yourself and your belongings at least 10 feet away from power lines.