Balloons make for a great Valentine’s Day gift, but if you’re not careful, they can leave you and thousands of others in the dark.
Since 2020, over 100,000 We Energies customers have faced power outages caused by mischievous Mylar balloons. In 2023, those caught up in these outages had to endure an average downtime of a whopping 102 minutes.
Love may not be a science, but delivering energy is — Mylar balloons that come into contact with power lines act as a conductor, creating a short circuit. Not only can balloons knock out power, the short circuit from the balloon also can cause power lines to fall to the ground, creating a dangerous situation.
If you buy a balloon for your sweetheart, keep these tips in mind:
- Never release balloons outside.
- Make sure balloons are tied securely to a weight.
- Keep balloons away from power lines.
- Don’t touch balloons entangled in wires.
Need an alternative idea to celebrate safely this Valentine’s Day? Here are some ideas:
- Assemble an emergency kit together. Nothing says romance more than being prepared for power outages. Throw in a blanket, flashlight and some battery-powered chargers for your cellphones.
- Cook a simple meal together. Microwaves and slow cookers use less energy than an oven. But if you need to heat things up in the oven, stay efficient by using the oven light and not opening the door to check on your romantic dinner.
- Snuggle safely together. When you’re done using your electric blanket, turn it off to reduce the risk of fire.
- Buy a carbon monoxide (CO) detector together. The risk of CO poisoning is greater during the winter months. Stay safe and install a CO detector.
- Focus on Energy together. Check out our partners at Focus on Energy for instant discounts on energy-efficient products like LED bulbs, smart thermostats and power strips. You may even qualify for a free energy-saving kit.