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Mylar balloons cause power outages this year for 68,000 in El Paso, Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- After a Mylar balloon got stuck on a power line, it caused an electrical outage that left KVIA’s over-the-air signal off for hours on Wednesday

ABC-7 learned more Thursday about the destructive impact the Mylar balloons can have. 

St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Las Cruces has a strict policy against Mylar balloons. However, cemetery staff say that despite Mylar balloons being banned many visitors still bring them in and place them on the graves as decorative pieces.  

However, the problem goes a step further since right above the cemetery are several power lines. And a few hundred feet away from the cemetery lies an electrical substation.

Rosemary Leyva, a historian for St. Genevieve's Catholic Church, says that in years past Mylar balloons from the gravesites have blown away and have landed in those exact power lines- causing hours long power outages. 

As a result, staff at the cemetery must frequently inspect the graves to ensure that Mylar balloons are not present. According to the staff, visitors tend to bring these types of decorations during holidays and special occasions- including birthdays. 

George De La Torre with El Paso Electric says that Mylar balloons blowing into power lines is a very frequent issue. 

El Paso Electric strictly warns of Mylar balloons because of the threat that they pose - especially when they come in contact with power lines. 

According De La Torre, so far in 2021 there have been 86 outages caused by the shiny decoration. As a result, 68,094 customers have been affected in El Paso and Las Cruces. 

El Paso Electric continues to offer recommendations when it comes to Mylar balloons. The company suggests deflating them and disposing of them properly after use. 

Rosemary Montanez

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