February 14, 2003

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 14, 2003-Southern California Edison (SCE) is encouraging its customers to hang on to their metallic balloons this Valentine's Day to avoid power outages.

"Helium-filled metallic balloons are popular items on Valentine's Day, but unfortunately, unsecured metallic balloons often drift into power lines and cause power outages and potential injuries," said Suzanne Middelburg, SCE director of consumer affairs and customers satisfaction. "If you receive a metallic balloon, we encourage you to enjoy it indoors."

More metallic balloons are sold on Valentine's Day than any other holiday - and not surprisingly, it's also the same day that SCE experiences numerous metallic balloon-related power outages.  Along with Valentine's Day, the release of metallic balloons at other celebrations such as graduation ceremonies and birthdays contribute to power interruptions.  Last year alone, metallic balloons caused more than 200 power outages, affecting nearly 300,000 customers. 

Should a metallic balloon get caught in a power line, do not retrieve it.  Instead, contact the police or fire department and then call SCE at (800) 655-4555.

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 12 million via 4.5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see www.sce.com.