PG&E Says ‘Keep Loved Ones – and Metallic Balloons – Close to Your Heart’

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, PG&E reminds customers that
sparks – and not just the romantic kind – can fly on February 14 if
improperly secured helium-filled metallic balloons come in contact with
power lines. Customers celebrating with metallic balloons should ensure
they’re tied securely to a weight that’s heavy enough to prevent them
from floating away. Last year, metallic balloons striking electric lines
caused 429 power outages in PG&E’s service area alone, disrupting
electric service to more than 200,000 homes and businesses.

“Let your heart soar on Valentine’s Day, but keep metallic balloons
close to the ground. When they come in contact with power lines, these
balloons can cause power outages and safety issues,” said Pat Hogan,
PG&E senior vice president of Electric Operations.

In addition to disrupting electric service, metallic balloons contacting
power lines can create a public safety risk. Last year, a metallic
balloon striking a power line sparked the Webb Fire which burned 75
acres southeast of Oroville.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, PG&E urges families celebrating
with balloons to follow these important safety tips:

  • “Look Up and Live!” Use caution and avoid celebrating with metallic
    balloons near overhead electric lines.
  • Make sure helium-filled metallic balloons are securely tied to a
    weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never
    remove the weight.
  • Keep metallic balloons indoors, when possible. For everyone’s safety,
    never permit metallic balloons to be released outside.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons together.
  • Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that
    becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call
    PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.
  • Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is
    dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized
    and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away and
    immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E
(NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas
and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco,
with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the
nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and
Central California. For more information, visit


PG&E Corporation
Megan McFarland, 415-973-5930