Power outage highlights push to ban foils

A power outage at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, which caused a 20-minute delay at the 30 July game, has drawn attention to The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC) which has been calling for the ban of foil balloons for some time.

The outage was caused by a foil balloon that came into contact with overhead electrical equipment according to the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (LADWP).

Typically between 150 and 200 Mylar-related power outages occur each year in Los Angeles, although the LADWP points out that appears to be rising, with 111 outages caused by balloons in May and June of this year.

“The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity, and can cause a short circuit or power surge when in contact with power lines. This can lead to large-scale power outages, melting of electrical wires, and fires, leading to possible injuries and property damage,” read a LADWP advisory which was issued earlier this year.

“In addition, outages caused by balloons can often result in traffic congestion due to disrupted traffic signals, and cause a significant inconvenience for residents and business owners who lose power,” it continued.

The SLNC voted unanimously at its recent board meeting to call for a city and state-wide ban, following the news that a foil balloon caused an extended power outage last year in Silver Lake, which lasted over 24 hours in some areas.

Additionally, the SLNC  pointed out that attempts to intervene at consumer level have failed as warnings not to release the balloons into the air do not seem to have decreased the occurrence of Mylar-related power outages.

 

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