Rogue Balloon Kills Power for Thousands

They could be the cause of a major power outage

By Kate Allt
|  Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM CDT
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They’re fun, they’re colorful and they inspire happiness in countless graduates, birthday boys and even new moms.

But what you might not know about balloons is, they're a power line's natural enemy.

Need proof?

This weekend, nearly 4,000 ComEd customers’ homes were plunged into darkness for two hours when a wandering Mylar balloon became entangled in a ComEd wire, the Chicago Tribune’s Problem Solver reports.

Outrageous as it seems, Sunday’s stray balloon is not the first perpetrator of a mass electrical outage.

Metallic balloons have been the cause of nearly 200 outages in the past four years, ComEd Spokesperson Jeff Burdick told the Tribune.

The contact of the balloon with the wire causes the power outages and could potentially cause fires and injuries.

So, folks, keep those balloons tied down and held tight. Your neighbors will thank you.


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