News Releases

Electrical Safety a Priority During Great Reno Balloon Race

Sep 3, 1996

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Robert Sagan or Karl Walquist
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Co. works behind the scenes to ensure balloon pilots and chase crews are mindful of electrical safety during the Great Reno Balloon Race. When balloonists register for the event they receive electrical safety information, including a map depicting electric lines located near the Rancho San Rafael launch site. They also see a Sierra Pacific safety display -- featuring a miniature 12,000-volt power line -- that shows what happens when someone accidentally contacts an electric line.

Overhead power lines modified

Before the event starts, Sierra Pacific crews will be modifying the operation of all the overhead power lines in the Reno-Sparks-Stead area to make them safer for balloonists. During normal operations, the lines automatically turn themselves back on after an outage occurs due to such causes as falling tree branches,lightning or heavy winds.

For the balloon races, the lines will be operated manually. That means the electric circuits will not automatically reset themselves following a line contact. Instead, they will have to be reset manually after it's been confirmed the incident does not involve a balloon.

In addition, Sierra Pacific will have personnel posted near the launch site to monitor the flight path taken by the balloons. They will be in radio contact with the utility's Electric System Control Center, the main control point for the company's electric system.

Sierra Pacific is a corporate sponsor of the 15th annual Great Reno Balloon Race, and the company is sponsoring a balloon.