Metallic Balloons Can Cause Outages When Striking Power Lines

February 15, 2012

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 www.sce.com/metallicballoons

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.

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Metallic Balloons Can Cause Outages When Striking Power Lines