PG&E is warning customers to hold on tightly to helium-filled balloons that can surge into power lines and cause outages.
Metallic helium-filled balloons that drifted into power lines last year caused more than 250 outages and left nearly 130,000 Bay Area customers without electricity, according to PG&E.
Balloons that hit power lines can disrupt service for an entire neighborhood, cause significant property damage and potentially result in serious injuries, PG&E officials said.
With graduation celebrations approaching, the company is recommending that customers securely tie weights to all metallic balloons containing helium to prevent them from flying away.
PG&E also urges people not to release balloons outdoors or bundle them together, and to keep balloons indoors when possible.
If a balloon does get tangled in a power line, people should not attempt to retrieve it, PG&E officials said. Instead, problems can be reported to PG&E at (800) 743-5000.