SANTA CLARA, Calif. – May 30, 2014 ¬– It’s happened again. Metal-coated Mylar balloons struck power lines in Santa Clara last Friday afternoon. This incident affected 2,000 Silicon Valley Power (SVP) customers for a few seconds—which is enough to wreak havoc with electronics—and left 60 customers without power for over 6 hours while SVP repaired the extensive damage. A similar outage occurred last March, affecting 2,500 SVP customers for over an hour and knocking out traffic lights during rush hour.
“A release of a Mylar balloon is simply dangerous and careless,” said Larry Owens, SVP Manager of Customer Services. “Even a short power outage triggers emergency measures at hospitals, endangers lives, and inconveniences local residents and businesses. We seem to have more power incidents related to the metal-coated balloons around graduation time, so we want to remind everyone to keep them in control.”
Graduation Day, birthdays and other celebrations often include Mylar balloons in the festivities. Some power outages that can cause serious problems can be avoided if celebrants simply hold onto their Mylar balloons.
Releasing Mylar balloons is against the law and violators can, at a minimum, be cited and fined.
“The consequences of a carelessly released balloon can affect a resident who uses a ventilator to breathe, a patient in a dentist chair or a business doing testing on products worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Owens said. “It may seem joyous to see balloons loft into the air during a celebration, but one strike of a power line could deflate that joy in an instant.”
About Silicon Valley Power
Silicon Valley Power is the trademark adopted for use by the not-for-profit electric municipal utility of Santa Clara, CA serving residents and businesses for over 100 years. SVP provides power to more than 50,000 customers, including Applied Materials, Intel, Owens Corning, Yahoo! and NVIDIA, at rates 15 to 45 percent below neighboring communities.
Larry Owens, Silicon Valley Power
Email: lowens (at) svpower.com
Dan Beerman, City of Santa Clara
tom (at) dystrick.com