May 11, 2007

ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 11, 2007—Southern California Edison (SCE) is encouraging everyone this weekend to hold on to their party balloons as they honor their mom on Mother’s Day.

“Both latex and metallic balloons can float into power lines, and that can cause power outages and even injure people on the ground,” said Ron Ferree, director of grid operations for SCE.   “Celebrate Mother’s Day, but don’t ruin the occasion by releasing balloons outside and having them knock out power.”

The number of metallic balloon-caused power outages has risen sharply in California in recent years and spikes alarmingly around Mother’s Day and during June when graduation celebrations occur.

SCE experienced 404 balloon-caused service interruptions in 2006, down from the record 414 of 2005 but still high. Between 2000 and 2006, SCE customers experienced a total of 2,233 balloon-caused outages.  In May 2006, there were 61 balloon-caused outages.

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 1-800-611-1911 and report the problem. 
  • Keep metallic balloons indoors, and never release them outside. 
  • Never attach metallic streamers to any balloon—latex or metallic.
  • Never bundle metallic balloons together. 
  • Be sure to secure a helium-filled balloon with a weight heavy enough to prevent it from drifting away. (It is unlawful to sell metallic balloons without a string weight.)
  • Never go near a downed or dangling wire. Keep others away and contact the police or fire department and call SCE at 1-800-611-1911 for assistance.

More information on safety and a host of other topics can be found at  A downloadable photo of a metallic balloon near power lines is available at

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An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.6 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.