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Don't Let Mylar Balloons Leave Your Party in the Dark

Ameren reminds customers that releasing metallic party balloons can cause power outages 

ST. LOUIS (May 13, 2024) – With warmer weather upon us and outdoor party season underway, Ameren is asking customers to use caution when including Mylar balloons as part of celebrations.

Ameren is reminding customers that when Mylar balloons float into electric power lines or equipment they can cause power outages, create safety issues and potentially harm wildlife.

Mylar balloons are metallic and conduct electricity, resulting in surges and shorts that can knock out power, start fires and cause significant damage to the electric grid. Nationwide, there were 582 balloon-related outages impacting 800,000 customers last year. Ameren has responded to 50 outages since 2021. The average outage duration was 104 minutes, affecting more than 9,000 customers.

“We realize this is the time of year when everyone is outside celebrating new graduates, newlyweds, birthdays and spring holidays,” said Patrick Smith, 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.”

The popular party accessories also pose an unnecessary safety hazard for line workers who must safely untangle and remove what’s left of the balloons from energized high voltage lines.

“Mylar balloons and power lines don’t mix. They pose significant safety risks and can result in a complex and difficult cleanup task for our team before service can be restored to our customers," said Ryan Arnold, Vice President of Energy Delivery for Ameren Missouri. "Mylar balloon-related outages are more common than one might imagine. A little extra precaution can truly help us keep the lights on.”

In addition to power outages, Mylar balloons are not biodegradable, so they are not environmentally friendly, and can cause harm to wildlife if they digest them or become entangled.

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 or Ameren Missouri at 1-800-552-7583 and a crew will be dispatched to handle the situation.

About Ameren Corporation
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric transmission and distribution service and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Missouri provides electric generation, transmission and distribution service, as well as natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops, owns and operates rate-regulated regional electric transmission projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn.com/company/Ameren.