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

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 15, 2012 — Valentine's Day has come and gone, but Southern California Edison’s heartfelt message to Californians is that metallic balloons still can cause power outages if not handled properly.

Helium-filled metallic balloons can drift and come in contact with high-voltage lines where electricity can arc across the balloons, cause short circuits, burn wires and interrupt service. Resulting power outages may last from a few minutes to several hours, leading to inoperable stoplights and possible traffic problems.

SCE recommends these simple safety rules 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.
  • Keep metallic balloons indoors, and never release them outside.
  • Never attach metallic streamers to any balloon – latex or metallic.
  • Be sure to secure a helium-filled balloon with a weight heavy enough to prevent it from drifting away and coming in contact with high-voltage lines and interrupting service. (It is unlawful to sell metallic balloons without a string weight.)
  • If you see a downed power line, do not approach it or touch the line or any person or object in contact with the downed line.
  • If you see a downed power line, call 911 and inform the operator it is an electrical emergency.

More information on metallic balloon safety can be found at

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 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.


Metallic Balloons Can Cause Outages When Striking Power Lines