Enel Distribución sees 37% increase in distribution network outages due to kites flown too close to power lines

Published on Saturday, 2 September 2023

Lanzamiento campaña Volantín Seguro 2023
  • The company recently launched the “Safe Kites” campaign, which every year aims to raise awareness of the risks of flying kites close to power lines. It calls the general public to use caution and to practice this traditional Chilean activity far from power lines.
  • As of July 2023, 154 electrical outages associated with kite strings getting caught in the power lines have been recorded, representing a 37% increase in such incidents compared to the same period of the previous year.


Santiago, September 2, 2022 – With the aim of preventing accidents caused by the use of glass-coated kite string and avoiding electrical supply interruptions due to kites being flown near power lines, Enel Distribución has launched the “Safe Kites 2023” campaign in reiteration of their annual call for responsible kite-flying in open and clear areas.

The event, which took place this morning in O'Higgins Park, was attended by Irací Hassler, Mayor of Santiago; Iván Morán, Regional Minister of Energy; and Víctor Tavera, CEO of Enel Distribución, as well as representatives from the Carabineros de Chile and the Red Cross. The campaign presentation included a demonstration using a live wire to show the potential accidents that could be caused by the use of glass-coated kite string, electrocutions, and falls from high places when trying to recover kites.

Since 2010, there have been total 18,182 events that have affected power lines and residential connections associated with the practice of flying kites in areas not suitable for this activity, and particularly the use of glass-coated kite string, in Chile known as hilo curado.

As of July 2023, 154 electrical grid outages associated with kite strings getting caught in the power lines have been recorded, representing a 37% increase in such incidents compared to the same period of the previous year.

Most outages in the distribution lines are due to the use of glass-coated string, which gets stuck in the lines or insulator supporting the wires.

“Many years ago, we took on the commitment to promote good practices so that this tradition, which brings families together, can be carried out in a responsible and safe manner. Our goals is to reach a zero-accident rate. We are concerned about the rise in accidents associated with kite flying, and we hope that with our awareness campaign, we can reduce both the number of accidents involving people and the electrical distribution network outages that affect our customers,” said Víctor Tavera, CEO of Enel Distribución.

Risks of flying kites and metallic balloons

Among the risks associated with this practice, there have been children who have been electrocuted or suffered serious burns from contact with high-voltage wires, and these situations can cause serious injury and even death.

Improper handling of the kite can also cause other accidents, such as pedestrians being run over when crossing the street suddenly without looking and falls caused by chasing after kites or trying to recover them from posts, high-voltage towers, and trees.

Metallic helium balloons, which are quite popular among kids year round, also represent a risk when handled near distribution lines. These products contain metallic fiber, which conducts electricity and can cause short circuits when in contact with electrical lines, leading to interruptions in the electrical supply and serious risks to personal safety.

Safe Kites

The “Safe Kites” preventive campaign came about over 30 years ago as an initiative by Enel Distribución, due to a large number of fatal accidents produced, primarily around the Chilean September 18th holidays, due to kite-flying without taking the necessary precautions.

In Chile, millions of kites are produced each year, most of which are sold in the month of September, thus increasing the risk of accidents around the National Holidays.

Some recommendations

  • Do not use metal or aluminum foil in the production of kites.
  • Do not use glass- or nylon-coated kite string.
  • Make sure the air above you is safe.
  • Do not fly kites near the electrical lines.
  • Do not climb posts, high-voltage towers, or trees to recover a kite.
  • Do not cross the street when flying a kite to avoid distraction-related accidents.