Squirrels remain a prime culprit for outages at unprotected substations, but snakes, raccoons, domesticated cats and other climbing animals have also caused outages and significant equipment damage, leaving homes, businesses, schools, hospitals —even military bases — without power. This year’s list, in date order:
1 .Traffic nightmare More than 1,527 homes and businesses in Syracuse, N.Y., were without electricity on the morning of February 22, when an unknown animal made contact with a substation. Blacked out traffic signals created havoc for early morning commuters.
2. Exploding reptile In early May, more than 14,000 people lost power in Oklahoma City when a snake crawled into an Oklahoma Gas & Electric substation and caused an explosion.
3. At ease, troops Service members at Joint Base McGuire-Dix in New Jersey experienced a power outage in mid-August stemming from a groundhog or a raccoon crawling onto transformers, seriously damaging four expensive high-voltage insulators.
4. Class dismissed In October, an equipment malfunction caused by an unknown animal at a Public Service of New Hampshire substation knocked out power for the entire University of New Hampshire campus in Durham.
5.The high cost of one curious cat On Dec. 8, a ringtail cat got caught between the conductors in a UniSource Energy substation in Havasu, Ariz., knocking out power to thousands. Worse, officials had problems getting the substation back online because of “expense and safety reasons.” Each transformer cost an estimated $2 million.
These outages represent a fraction of the widely publicized (and unreported) animal-caused outages at U.S. substations. For more information about how patented TransGard fences eliminate substation outages caused by climbing animals, visit www.transgardfence.com.
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