CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — over 1,200 Ameren customers experienced a power outage last night near campustown that was caused by a Mylar balloon.
It happened around 7:30 p.m. on Friday and lasted 3 hours long.
Mylar balloons are metallic and conduct electricity which can result in surges and shorts that have the ability to knock out power, start fires, and cause significant damage to the electric grid.
“We realize this is the time of year when everyone is outside celebrating new graduates, newlyweds, birthdays and spring holidays,” said Dave Wakeman, Senior Vice President Operations and Technical Services for Ameren Illinois.
“Keeping the balloons tethered and weighted while in use and then properly puncturing and disposing after the fact can help to ensure they do not get loose and end up in our power lines and substations.”
If you happen to notice a balloon or another toy entangled in electric infrastructure, always assume the line is live and do not attempt to remove the object yourself. Instead call Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 and a crew will be dispatched to handle the situation.
“Mylar balloon-related outages are more common than one might imagine,” Wakeman added. “A little extra precaution can truly help us keep the lights on.”