Southern California Edison Co. attributed three recent power outages near Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards to stray helium-filled metallic balloons that floated into power lines and caused short-circuiting.
"Metallic balloons are excellent conductors of electricity," spokesman Bob Krauch said. "When they short-circuit electric lines, the result is a flash of heat that can melt the wires and cause them to drop from utility poles."
Last year, 106 outages occurred in Southern California because of stray metallic balloons, and 102 have occurred already this year, he reported.
Southern California Edison asks people to hold tightly onto balloons outdoors or secure them to a stationary object. The company advises people not to attempt to retrieve a balloon or kite that is entangled in power lines but to call Southern California Edison for assistance.