OnWednesday, more than 900 Commonwealth Edison customers on the NorthSide experienced a power outage. The culprit was a Mylar balloondrifting up and hitting a power line.
In the wake of a surge of outages caused by Mylarballoons, the utility is urging people to take precautions, especiallywith more outdoor birthday, graduation and wedding celebrations plannedas the weather warms up.
So far this year, Mylar balloons have caused poweroutages affecting about 11,000 customers in the area, a release fromComEd said. That's a big increase from last year, when 6,700 customershad been impacted by this time.
When a Mylar balloon contacts a power line or anysubstation equipment, its metallic properties can cause a surge ofelectricity that leads to a short-circuit, which can cause a poweroutage or fire.
ComEd offers following tips when taking Mylar balloons outside:
— Keep balloons tethered and attached to weights.
— Properly dispose of Mylar balloons by puncturing them to release helium.
— Never touch a power line or attempt to retrieve a balloon or toy entangled in a line. For assistance, call (800) 334-7661.