Yes – YOU Can Prevent Power Outages

Power outages are a pain and inconvenience for just about everyone. The good news is that many outages can be prevented if we take care around power equipment.

Animals getting into power stations or power lines cause multiple outages every year. Often these animals are being fed on a regular basis by humans near power equipment, making the area attractive for creatures like squirrels and birds. Animals caused at least 17 outages in Santa Clara in 2015. In fact, the Washington Post this year had an article entitled “Are Squirrels a bigger threat to the power grid than hackers?” and linked to a CyberSquirrel1.com map of squirrel “attacks” in the U.S.

By not feeding wild animals like squirrels, people can discourage those critters from making their home in the vicinity of underground vaults or substations where they like to search for food or shelter. That can prevent power outages as well as save the lives of our furred and feathered friends.Balloon Photo Near Power Lines with logo

Helium balloons can wrap around power lines, pulling them close enough to each other that they arc and fail. Foil or “Mylar” balloons can also cause lines to “short out” and fail. Holding on tight to helium balloons just makes good sense. As the question asks in our balloon safety video, “Remember how much fun your last power outage was?” (Check out the “behind the scenes” look at the making of our video, too!)

Tree limbs near power lines are a major cause of power outages. If you see limbs close to an electrical line, call us at 408.615.6500.and we’ll schedule a pruning. Don’t wait. The next wind or rain storm could be the one that puts you in the dark.

Many power lines and other utility conduits are buried underground. Before you start digging or have someone else dig, call 8-1-1 to make sure you don’t get a nasty surprise while excavating a hole or trench.

power outage by cause 2015

 

How do you get a dog to save the day from a power outage?

Our video on helium balloon safety featuring “Power Pup” is getting rave reviews. Other utilities have screened the work since it first appeared on Vimeo.

The artistic piece is 1:27 long (that’s 87 seconds) and was shot with a home video camera. Encouragement for this level of production value was the Academy Award winner “Searching for Sugar Man” which was partially shot on an iPhone using a $1.99 vintage film app.  

The stars and crew:

Power Pup is played by Lilly, a veteran of over 100 short videos. Lilly prepared for her role with Trainer/Director Mike Martinez, who engineered a dynamic jump as well as the classic stare down sequence.

Toddler, played by the cute South Bay native Mayson, is appearing in his first online role and 91st short video piece. Like all the talent, he donated his time for the public service video.

Mom, played by JoAnn, appears in her first short film after spending years behind the camera recording momentous video behind the scenesand not-so-momentous moments in her family life. 

Michael Martinez as Trainer/Director has created an iconic educational video in this, his third work released to the public. “We didn’t exactly have a huge choice of lenses to create the suspense and non-stop action, so we just moved around with the camera.”

Joe Couto was Production Manager, screen-writer and on-set photographer for the budget balloons in power lines with logoshoot. Joe also works on the visuals associated with our customer communications outreach such as bill inserts and customer collateral.

Josephine Voong, Creative Director, and chief editor illustrated the video’s storyboard and had a hand in all creative aspects. Josephine also does much of the creative art work found in our communications materials.

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All in a day’s work for Lilly

Why It’s a Great Idea to “Hold on Tight” to Helium Balloons

No one likes to suffer the consequences of a power outage, especially when that outage is completely avoidable. That’s why we’re pushing hard on a campaign to let people know that it’s wise to Keep the Light and Hold on Tight when enjoying those lively and lovely helium balloons.

Every year there are multiple power outages in Santa Clara caused by 20150322_171640.jpgwayward helium balloons caught in power lines that can darken traffic lights and hospitals and cost businesses thousands of dollars. So we decided to start an educational campaign to alert customers to the dangers of releasing foil or what you might call “Mylar” balloons.

We contacted local stores such as Safeway supermarkets and CVS pharmacies to start a partnership that benefited the stores, customers and the community. In addition to notifying local English language media, we also ran ads on local Vietnamese and Spanish language radio stations to reach as much of the local community as possible.

The primary message is “Keep the Light, Hold on Tight.”

The pilot program provided stores with a free supply of easily-attached Balloon Tagswarning tags for Valentines Day and the May-June Graduation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day period. Both a written warning and a weight are required by state law for any foil balloon purchase. We also provided a triangular counter-top placard urging balloon buyers to “Keep balloons fun for everyone!”

We have plans to include even more retail outlets in 2016 to inform balloon buyers of their responsibility to hold onto their helium balloons.

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