Mylar Balloon Causes Two-Second Power Flow Disruption, Delaying Game 20 Minutes While Stadium Equipment and Field Lighting Reset
A Mylar balloon that made contact with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) overhead electrical equipment was the cause of the power outage at Dodger Stadium that occurred at approximately 7:44 p.m. last night.
Power flow was restored to the stadium after a two-second interruption because Dodger Stadium is powered through redundant circuits from LADWP’s system. When one circuit experiences a disruption, as occurred when the metallic coating of the balloon touched the electrical equipment, an automated switch was triggered rerouting power flow to stadium equipment. The automated switch functioned correctly, allowing power to be restored within seconds and stadium High Intensity Discharge lamps and other equipment to be reset and powered back on by stadium personnel.
“That a metallic balloon can cause a power outage like the one at Dodger Stadium may come as a surprise to some, but those in the utility industry know all too well the damage one Mylar balloon can cause,” said LADWP General Manager, David H. Wright. “When metallic balloons come in contact with power lines or other electrical equipment, it can melt electrical wires resulting in fires that could lead to injuries, property damage or an outage like the one that occurred last night. We have built our systems to ensure reliable power flow to major venues, but even a brief disruption in power flow can cause on-site systems to need to be reset.”
Mylar balloons have long been a hazard to electrical equipment. At the height of graduation season over the two weeks between May 14-27, 2018, metallic balloons caused 36 community-wide outages, affecting more than 43,300 homes and businesses—nearly 45 percent of the total number of customers affected by power outages during those two weeks. Overall, there are approximately 150 Mylar-related outage incidents citywide, affecting tens of thousands of LADWP customers annually. Mylar balloons are such a significant hazard that the utility industry has pushed to ban them.
If you see a Mylar balloon that has contacted a power line, keep yourself and others safe by ensuring no one is underneath the overhead wires and remain at least 20 feet away. Always assume the power lines are energized. Do not attempt to climb the pole or try to retrieve the object. Call LADWP at 1-800-DIAL DWP (1-800-342-5397) to report it.
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