Mylar balloons blamed for recent increase in Metro East power outages | St. Louis News Headlines

Mylar balloons blamed for recent increase in Metro East power outages

MADISON COUNTY, Ill. ( — Balloons popular for birthday celebrations and graduation events are being blamed for a minimum of 3 power interruptions in the City East because April. Each interruption impacted more than 1,000 clients. 

“I was simply sitting here and all the electrical headed out. My computer system headed out and whatever,” said Jim Litchfield, owner of Big Jim’s Autorama in Madison, Illinois. 

Litchfield was in the dark for hours when his power went out for about a month ago. Ameren Illinois said Mylar balloons were to blame for the outage that affected his area. For Litchfield, no power means no business. 

“I have to issue plates through the Secretary of State on my computer so I can’t sell cars, I’m out of business,” stated Litchfield. 

Litchfield stated he needed to turn away a consumer who wished to purchase a $10,000 cars and truck that day. He didn’t recognize balloons triggered the interruption up until News 4 informed him.

“That’s a little stressful. I didn’t even understand that they did that however yeah that’s worrying,” said Litchfield. 

Brian Bretsch, spokesperson for Ameren, Illinois said it’s the metallic on the Mylar balloon that causes the outages. 

“If the balloon actually explodes, which most of them do, when it pops the material goes everywhere and what we like to tell people is it’s like if you have any children who have ever had gum in their hair, our linemen actually have to remove that, all the particles in that melted property of that metallic balloon from our equipment,” stated Bretsch. 

Routine helium balloons do not have the exact same result, though they can trigger problems like getting twisted in the lines, requiring teams to momentarily shut off power to eliminate them.

“We desire everybody to commemorate. Everybody was caged, however if you’re going to have these events simply please deal with these balloons correctly,” stated Bretsch. 

Ameren Missouri stated Mylar balloon-related power interruptions are absolutely a problem.

The energy business in Missouri and Illinois is including more underground power lines. The strategy is to construct them in more recent suburbs, not change present above ground power lines due to the expense. 

The other issue with launching balloons is the ecological effect. Numerous states consisting of California, Florida, and Tennessee have actually prohibited mass balloon releases. An Illinois legislator attempted to present comparable legislation this year that would make it unlawful to intentionally launch a big quantity of balloons. The costs passed the capacity, however passed away in the Senate. 

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights booked

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.