In 1998, my wedding hall was filled with balloon table toppers, arches, and decorative displays, all floating majestically in the air. That was 1998. Now, in 2013, the price of helium has skyrocketed as producers interrupted distribution of helium production.
Horror stories abound of balloon decorators searching five state areas searching for the precious gas to meet clients’ needs. The balloon industry has been addressing this issue for several years, and now the focus is on air-filled instead of helium decorations. Yet, the US Bureau of Land Management may be disrupting the flow of helium production again.
Since helium gas is a natural resource, two different branches of the government regulates production. The Natural Resource Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be drafting and addressing new legislation on October 7, 2013. If new legislation is not drafted, then production of helium will be reduced, thus causing a shortage again.
This is good news for the Deco-Twister who develops larger balloon sculptures using only air-filled balloons. Using specialty balloons and new techniques, the Deco-Twister can fill the void left by the helium shortages.
The big losers are the party/balloon shops that rely on helium balloon sales. As the price of helium rockets, so too does the price of a basic helium balloon drop. Big box balloon stores who buy large quantities of Mylar and latex balloons are now in the bind of trying to keep prices low, while still making a profit.
The balloon manufacturers are working diligently to make sure legislation is passed. If helium prices keep rising, the balloon manufacturers will feel the full economic impact. Thus, it will have a ripple effect on the balloon decorator and entertainment community.
The bills being presented to the government will help to remedy the supply shortages, stabilize price, and increase the supply of helium to the market. Other legislation presented will be addressing the sale of reserve helium and developing new provisions allowing improved capturing techniques for US helium resources.
The balloon industry is encouraging companies affected by the helium shortage to visit POPVOX.com and type S783 or HR 527 in the search box. This will provide you with the contact information to the Senators and/or House Members in your area. Tell your government representative how the shortage of helium has an economic impact to your business and that it is critical that they address the helium shortage in a timely manner.
The deadline for action is September 2013, so it is important that business and entertainers act now.