Metallic balloons cause hundreds of power outages each year for Southern California Edison. Last year, however, the number of outages caused by balloons skyrocketed to 1,094, an all-time high. These outages affected 1.4 million of SCE's customers.
According to state law, all metallic balloons must be secured to a weight, yet when these balloons are released up into the air, they can become entangled in power lines. To help to educate the community about the dangers associated with releasing balloons, SCE recently sent four employees to a party store in Lakewood, California.
Paul Jeske, director of corporate health and safety, and Scott Brown, a former troubleman and fire management officer, spoke about the safety hazards and power outages caused by the released balloons. Meanwhile, Alex Plascencia, a lineman for SCE, and Mike Lopez, electric crew foreman, demonstrated the hazards using an electrical safety board.
In addition to providing community demonstrations, SCE is also supporting State Assembly Bill 2450, which would require in-state metallic balloon manufacturers to include a written statement warning about the fire hazards caused by balloons coming in contact with power lines.
For more information, visit SCE's Web site.