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Mylar balloons are cute, except when they float away

The helium-filled metallic gifts can cause problems for power lines

OW Staff Writer | 6/13/2013, midnight

Mylar balloons deliver a cute and colorful message on such special occasions as graduations, birthdays and Father’s Day. But, according to Southern California Edison (SCE), they are nothing but headaches when they float away and touch or get entangled in power lines. That’s when they cause power outages that can last for a few minutes to hours. SCE is asking customers to keep these balloons indoors, and if they are used outdoors, to keep them tightly secured to a heavy weight to prevent them from floating away.

“June is a special month for many families, and we want to make sure the use of these metallic balloons doesn’t spoil the celebrations when they float into power lines and cause short-circuits and outages,” said Bill Messner, SCE’s manager, Safety Operations. “These are definitely outages that can be avoided.”

In the last several years, SCE has experienced close to 2,000 power outages caused by balloons. In 2012, there were 583 balloon-related outages, the highest since 2007.

Here are some simple safety tips for handling metallic balloons:

• Keep metallic balloons indoors, and never release them outside.

• 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.

More information on metallic balloon safety can be found at www.SCE.com. Follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/SCE) and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SCE).