July 1, 2002

ROSEMEAD, Calif., July 1, 2002-It's a fantasy Hollywood movie plot that in reality is extremely hazardous, and possibly could be fatal.

In the upcoming movie "Like Mike," a young boy dreams of becoming the next Michael Jordan.  The boy climbs a tree one night in the rain to retrieve a pair of sneakers dangling from a power line. Lightning strikes the pole supporting the power line as the boy grasps the shoes. Shocked, the boy falls to the ground clutching the shoes. Miraculously, he survives the electrical shock, the fall, and magically turns into a basketball superstar.

Southern California Edison (SCE) warns that this plot sends a dangerous and misleading message about the serious hazards of power lines.

"We have a two-word message for everyone, especially children, when it comes to dealing with power lines," said Dick Rosenblum, SCE's senior vice president of transmission and distribution, "Stay Away! Whether the lines are in the air or have fallen on the ground, stay away from power lines, and keep others away, too."

Power lines often carry thousands of volts of electricity. When someone touches or even comes close to a wire-either directly or with any material that conducts electricity, such as metal or a wet pole or stick-they can suffer serious injury, even death.

"We're concerned the 'Like Mike' plot could encourage an unsuspecting child to attempt a copycat prank of touching a power line or snagging a pair of shoes in the lines," said Rosenblum. "The bottom line is that electricity and pranks don't mix. It's a terrible idea to tamper with or try to retrieve something from a power line."

If a child gets a kite, model airplane or toy caught in a power line, don't try to retrieve it, warned Rosenblum. "Call Edison and we'll be happy to help," he said. "Foreign objects caught in our lines are a danger to the public and to our employees working on those lines. Not only is tying shoes together and tangling them in our lines an unsightly nuisance, it also could result in serious injury or death."

Although the exact type of power line used in the film is unclear, the electric utility industry emphasizes that power lines, transformers, and other apparatus should only be handled with utmost care by trained professionals who have the appropriate safety equipment.

More information on safety and a host of other topics can be found at www.sce.com. Click on "SCE Kids."

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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 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.