Two Power Outages Caused By Helium Balloons

July 8, 2024 | 1 Comment

BELCO is urging the public to “take precautions when celebrating occasions with helium-filled balloons” as “during the last month there have been two separate outages caused by foil and/or mylar helium-filled balloons coming into contact with BELCO overhead wires.”

A spokesperson said, “Typically, when a foil helium balloon comes into contact with the high voltage overhead conductors, it causes an electrical flashover or arc flash, which generates a significant amount of both heat and light, followed by the overhead conductors burning through any combustible material [connections to poles, etc] and falling to the ground.

“The most recent incident involving a balloon was on July 1st in Pembroke, which caused more than 600 residents to be without power while broken conductors had to be repaired. When these incidents happen, several hundred customers can be affected while BELCO crews carry out repairs.”

On July 1st, BELCO tweeted this image of the “balloon remains that were removed from the power lines”


BELCO Managing Director of Transmission, Distribution and Retail Shelly Leman said, “We are seeing an increase in the impacts of helium-filled balloons causing outages on our network and these incidents are entirely preventable. Not only is there the inconvenience to our customers of losing power, but these incidents can also pose a significant safety risk to members of the public if conductors are downed as a result.

“Balloons that are released can also have a negative impact on the marine environment as well as potentially harming birds. I urge members of the public to take precautions when using helium-filled balloons and to ensure they are not released into the environment and are disposed of responsibly.”

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  1. MADDOG says:

    This is NOT NEW NEWS. Are you living under a rock? Power outages aside…It’s TERRIBLE for the environment to release any kind of balloons into the environment- we are surrounded by water…. where do you think they end up???? Birds and fish eat them and DIE. and they wash up as trash on our shores. Please don’t be so selfish. Actually try and care a little bit about something other than yourselves. Find another way to celebrate without taking out your neighbours power and killing animals and adding to our already terrible trash problem. I say there should be a consequence. Whomever released the balloons pays BELCO back.

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