Thankfully the wily squirrel who crossed a high-voltage power line at LAX didn’t disrupt important airport transmissions, just the air conditioning systems. Sigh, squirrels and power lines: A never-ending struggle.
“A squirrel was responsible for unplugging the South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. clients for about a half-hour, as well as playing havoc with traffic lights.
..The doomed animal sneaked into a substation near where St. Andrews Boulevard becomes Old Towne Road. During its ill-fated journey at about 7:30 a.m., it made contact with two high-voltage points.
..Around here, the past couple of months have been squirrel season. In January, the creatures caused 210 outages, …and February figures were expected to be about the same. That means squirrels caused more mischief than trees or other animals.”
Squirrels causing power outages is old news. But a squirrel causing a power outage, a boil water notice and the forced closure of hundreds of businesses? Now that’s worthy of a mention in Squirrels, Squirrels, Squirrels.
A squirrel wandered into a power substation in Fort Worth last week, and “about 25,000 to 30,000 households lost water or experienced low water pressure, city officials said. And after water started flowing again, the water department issued a “boil water notice,” warning people in the affected area to boil their drinking water to ensure that harmful bacteria and other microbes are destroyed.”
Not only that, but “The city’s public health department ordered an estimated 380 affected businesses — mostly food service establishments — to close, said Amy Casas, a department spokeswoman.”
Complaining “callers blamed the problem on such things as a truck running into a power pole to a possible terrorist attack. No one… mentioned a squirrel.”
Local BBQ restaurant owner Craig Payne summed it up well:
“Darn squirrel,” Payne said. “That just goes to show you, doesn’t matter how small you are, you can make a difference.”
There’s been a huge increase lately in the amount of news stories about power outages caused by squirrels. The squirrels seem to do one of three things: 1) chew on a power line, 2) accidentally step on a hot power line, or 3) cram themselves into a transformer box. In all cases, they end up dead, and cause widespread power losses.
First, a few weeks ago, there was the highly publicized “flaming squirrel” in Bayonne, NJ, that chewed through wires, electrocuted itself and then fell on a woman’s car — setting it on fire.
Then, well, the news stories on outages really start to stack up, such as
Then, for the third time this year, a squirrel chewing through a power line causes a power outage at the University of Kentucky. (They are now buying squirrel guards, thank goodness).
And the Ivy Leagues are not immune, either — at Dartmouth, a squirrel is blamed for wiping out power to several areas of campus after it “the squirrel apparently attempted to cross between lines of a high-wire without removing its entire body from the line on which he previously perched.”
Then, in Bloomington, Ill., a squirrel worked itself into a power substation, leaving about 1,500 homes and businesses temporarily without power.
And finally (for now!), students had to go without power for some classes during an outage blamed on a squirrel at the University of Kansas. As the article explains, Doug Wulff, owner of Critter Guard in Columbia Missouri, said squirrels are the third leading cause of power outages. “Squirrels are a huge menace,” Wulff said. Thankfully, Wulff sells products to combat the menace — the Critter Guard.