Graduation season has begun and ComEd is warning customers about the public safety risks associated with helium-filled foil balloons. While families and students continue to opt for at-home celebrations to honor the class of 2021 and special celebrations due to the ongoing pandemic, ComEd warns customers to be cautious of foil balloons that may float off and cause damage to outdoor power lines.
Foil balloons, also known as metallic or Mylar balloons, pose a potential risk, if released into the air. When foil balloons come into contact with power lines or electrical equipment, their Mylar properties can cause an electric surge that can lead to power outages and fires.
ComEd is asking residents to continue to prioritize balloon safety. Though it only takes one balloon to cause an outage, newly proposed House bill (HB 418) is proposing escalating fines for releasing 50 or more balloons into the air in Illinois, with fines increasing after each 50 balloons.
“ComEd would like to congratulate the class of 2021 on your well-deserved success,” said Rich Negrin, vice president of external affairs at ComEd. "As families and students across Illinois gather to celebrate annual achievements, ComEd encourages customers to be safe while transporting and displaying celebratory balloons. By securing foil balloons with a weight, everyone will be able to celebrate responsibly.”
Every year, thousands of residents across northern Illinois are affected by power outages caused by foil balloons. The increase in reported issues is often seen during graduation season. On average each year, 250 outages affecting almost 75,000 customers have occurred due to foil balloons.
Helium-filled foil balloons also have the tendency to float for days, which could have a potential negative impact on neighborhoods, critical first response facilities like hospitals, parks, cemeteries and the environment.
Helpful Tips to Ensure Safety
ComEd encourages customers to reduce foil balloon-related power outages and ensure safety by following these helpful tips:
- Keep balloons secured inside of homes or attached to weights if displayed outside
- Properly dispose of foil balloons by puncturing them to release helium and prevent escape
- Refrain from touching a power line to retrieve a balloon or any object entangled with electrical equipment
- Assume power lines are always live and keep a safe distance of at least 10 feet from active lines
- Call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661) for assistance
For more tips to keep you safe this graduation season and beyond, visit ComEd.com.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.