February 13, 2002

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 13, 2002-With Valentine's Day right around the corner, Southern California Edison (SCE) is encouraging its customers to hang on to their metallic balloons 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 SCE spokesperson Steven Conroy. "If you get a metallic balloon, we're asking you to please keep 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 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 service interruptions. Last year alone, metallic balloons caused more than 260 power outages, affecting nearly 300,000 customers. 

Should a metallic balloon get caught in a power line, do not retrieve it. Keep others away and never go near a downed or dangling wire, especially if it's sparking.  Instead, contact the police or fire department and then call SCE at (800) 655-4555. 

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Photos of metallic balloons are available for your use at www.edisonnews.com.

An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 11 million via 4.3 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.