Media Contact: Paul Netter, (626) 302-2255

ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 3, 2016 — Like water and electricity, metallic balloons and power lines don’t mix.

And, just like last year, power outages caused by floating balloons are on a record pace. After experiencing an all-time high 924 outages last year, Southern California Edison, through March, is already 17 percent ahead of that pace with 212 outages compared to 182 at the same point last year.

The 109 balloon outages in March is already a new record, exceeding the SCE high of 89 reached last year.

With all of this coming even before the months with the most outages — May and June — and their celebrations of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations and proms, SCE urges its customers to make sure their balloons are always tied to a weight, as required by California law, and to never release them outdoors.

“The safest metallic balloon is clearly a secure one,” said Paul Jeske, SCE’s director of Corporate Health and Safety. “Only properly weighted balloons should be sold to customers and buyers should never remove that weight or release their balloons outdoors because of the risks to public safety.”

Those risks include serious injuries and property damage that can occur when the balloon contact is severe enough to bring down power lines — which happened 96 times last year for SCE. Anyone who sees a downed line or dangling wire — even if it appears not to be live — should not touch or approach it or anything in contact with it and call 911 immediately. 

To prevent outages and injuries, SCE recommends some other safety tips for handling metallic balloons:

  • Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon — or any foreign object — tangled in power lines. Instead, call SCE at 800-611-1911 and report the problem.
  • Never tie a metallic balloon to a child’s wrist. If the balloon contacts electricity, it can travel through the balloon and into the child, causing serious injury or death.
  • Never attach streamers to any balloon — latex or metallic.
  • When done with balloons, puncture them several times or cut the knot and throw them in the garbage to prevent them from floating away.

More on metallic balloon safety can be found at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Southern California Edison

An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.