June 9, 2009

Media Contact: Media Relations, (626) 302-2255

ROSEMEAD, Calif., June 9, 2009 — With graduation ceremonies taking place during the coming weeks, Southern California Edison (SCE) is alerting customers to the potential danger associated with the outdoor use of metallic balloons. Metallic balloons can stray or float for many miles before hitting high voltage power lines causing short circuits, damaging electrical equipment and interrupting electrical service.

SCE customers experience more service interruptions in June than any other month of the year due to a dramatic increase in the number of metallic balloon-related power outages. Last June, metallic balloons caused 69 service interruptions. Over the last three years combined, metallic balloons caused more than 200 outages during the month of June. Since 2000, more than 3,200 outages have been reported throughout SCE’s service territory. The interruptions cause thousands of dollars of damage and affect electric service to both residential and business customers. Most balloon-related outages typically occur in May and June when Mother’s Day celebrations as well as graduation ceremonies and parties take place.

SCE recommends these simple rules on metallic balloon safety:

  • If a balloon becomes tangled in power lines, do not attempt to retrieve it.  Instead, call SCE and report the problem.
  • Keep metallic balloons indoors. Never release them outside.
  • It is unlawful to sell metallic balloons without a string weight.
  • Never attach metallic streamers to any balloon — latex or metallic.
  • Do not bundle metallic balloons.
  • If you buy and fill your own balloons with helium, be sure to tie them securely to a weight heavy enough to prevent them from drifting away.
  • Never go near a downed or dangling wire.  Keep others away, contact the police or fire department and call SCE at (800) 611-1911. SCE will dispatch crews to safely correct the problem.

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.