Southern California

It's All Fun and Games Until You Knock Out Power in a Neighborhood

Southern California Edison says outages hit an all time high around June, when many are attending graduation ceremonies.

Southern California Edison was warning you ahead of graduation season to please, please not release mylar — those shiny, silver-like balloons — into the sky.

Although the metallic balloons may hold helium longer, and give the balloon bouquet that extra touch, SoCalEdison said they're really a nuisance. 

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The reason mylar balloons last longer is because latex is porous, so it breathes easier than the metallic material.

SoCalEdison says when a mylar balloon makes contact with power lines, an explosion can occur, and a subsequent power outage. Street signals, elevators, and all kinds of other electric-operated mechanisms throughout the region can lose power, posing safety hazards. 

There was even a bill signed into law in 2018 stating that mylar balloons must be properly labeled with a warning that they should be weighted down, and never released in the air. 

Zaira Cortes
A law was passed requiring businesses selling mylar balloons to include a warning in 2018.

In 2018 alone, 1,128 balloon-related explosions and power outages occurred in the SoCal region, SoCalEdison said. That number has steadily gone up over the last five years, dethroning the record high of 1,094 outages in 2017. Out of the explosions last year, 133 of those times resulted in power lines being knocked down, which poses a dangerous threat to anyone near it as the ground may become energized. 

SoCalEdison urges people to stop releasing mylar balloons into the sky, which can cause dangerous power outages after the balloons hit wires.

June is prime time for mylar balloon explosions, due to all the graduation celebrations, SoCalEdison said. 


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What to Do

If you happen to spot any mylar balloons tangled in power lines, call SoCalEdison at 1-800-611-1911.

Safety Tips

  • Metallic balloons should always be tied to a weight.
  • Stores and vendors should only sell properly weighted balloons.
  • Balloon owners should never remove the weight.
  • Balloons should never be released outdoors.
  • Do not try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines or electrical equipment.
  • Puncture balloons before disposing of them.
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