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As Balloon Outages Soar, SCE Urges Responsible Celebrations of Dads, Grads and Newlyweds
By Amanda Scurlock
Published June 24, 2015
Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Like bad weather, metallic balloons are a leading cause of power outages.

Unlike bad weather, however, there’s an easy and cheap solution to the outages caused by stray balloons.

Southern California Edison (SCE) is on a record pace for balloon outages with 390 even before the traditionally worst month of June and its celebrations of Father’s Day, graduations and the ever-popular weddings. SCE urges its customers to always keep the balloons tied to a weight, as required by California law, and to never release them outdoors.

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“Worse than outages, floating metallic balloons can pose a major safety threat to people when the contact is violent enough to bring down power lines,” said Don Neal, SCE director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety. “The best way to avoid this and property damage is by keeping them indoors or tied to a weight.”

The weights are as crucial as ever as SCE has seen all-time highs this year for balloon outages in March (89), April (86) and May (122) on its way to a 50 percent increase over this point last year. Additionally, June has long been the worst month for the outages, leading all months in four of the past five years. Last year, SCE experienced 21 percent — or 137 of 656 — of its balloons outages in June. Only May (93) was close.

SCE recommends some other tips for safely handling metallic balloons:

  • Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon — or any foreign object — tangled in power lines. Instead, call SCE at 800-611-1911 and report the problem.
  • Never tie a metallic balloon to a child’s wrist. If the balloon comes into contact with electricity, it will travel through the balloon and into the child, possibly causing serious injury or even death.
  • Never attach streamers to any balloon — latex or metallic.
  • When done with them, puncture the balloons or cut the knot to keep them from floating away.
  • If you see a downed line or dangling wire — even if it appears not to be live — don’t touch or approach it and call 911 immediately.

More on metallic balloon safety can be found at on.sce.com/staysafe. Follow SCE on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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