Balloon causes power outage to thousands in Mid-Michigan

Balloon causes power outage to thousands in Mid-Michigan
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 4:44 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2022 at 12:07 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Lansing Board of Water and Light revealed the cause of power outage that impacted parts of Lansing and Delta Township.

According to BWL officials, the outage that had impacted more than 3,000 customers for about an hour Tuesday afternoon was caused by a helium filled mylar balloon that became entangled in a powerline on Waverly Road, just south of Michigan Avenue. At the time, Ingham County officials urged residents to avoid the area due to fallen power lines. BWL said the power line caught fire, broke in two and fell to the ground.

Mylar balloons often have a shiny coating that can contain aluminum, making the balloon able to conduct electricity. When tangled in power lines, these balloons can cause fires and fallen power lines.

“This incident, while rare, is a good reminder that mylar balloons can be hazardous if they get caught in a power line. We encourage area residents to be aware of these potential hazards and to avoid releasing mylar balloons outdoors, especially near power lines,” said general manager Dick Peffley. “Any time a live power line is down it creates a significant safety hazard both to the public and to BWL employees responding to the incident,. Stay away from downed power lines and report them to BWL immediately so we can secure the area around the power line and get it repaired as quickly as possible.”

BWL is urging residents to follow the following safety tips for mylar balloons.

  • Keep balloons indoors.
  • Metallic balloons should always be secured with weights.
  • Never attach metallic streamers to balloons.
  • Balloons should never be released outdoors.
  • When disposing of the balloons, puncture them to release the helium, which prevents them from flying away.
  • Do not try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines or electrical equipment.

If you see or suspect a downed power line, stay at least 20 feet away and keep children and pets away. Downed power lines can be reported to the Lansing Board of Water and Light by calling 877-295-5001.

Always assume a wire is dangerous, even if it’s lying still.


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