4 Critters That Caused Power Outages in 2023

When severe thunderstorms or other inclement weather conditions strike, most people expect - and even prepare for - power outages. However, there are a number of animals that cause outages, especially when proper deterrents are not used. This can be problematic since the outages are often unexpected. Keep reading as we take a closer look at a few of the critters that caused power outages in 2023.


On April 23, 2023, intermittent power outages occurred throughout the day in East Providence, Rhode Island. It was a pair of osprey nests that were responsible for the on and off outages after they were discovered on a transmission line. Not only do ospreys prefer tall, open platforms, but their nests can weigh in at more than 100 pounds.


It was January 6 when an estimated 5,000 people found themselves without power in midtown Toronto and Scarborough. The culprit? A raccoon that got into the equipment at a transmission station, causing massive outages as a result. These critters, who are curious by nature, are known for being amazing climbers, allowing them to get into places that they don't belong such as electrical substations. This causes havoc and results in numerous power outages annually.


On May 2, a snake was responsible for the loss of power at an intersection in Prince William County. Traffic signals were out after the slithery critter got inside some equipment prompting authorities to remind drivers to treat flashing lights as stop signs. Snakes enjoy following small prey into substations and often get into equipment, which results in disruptions and outages. Fortunately, in this case, the snake was captured and released unharmed.


September 16-17 saw three separate power outages caused by squirrels in Missoula, Montana. These feisty little critters left over 14,000 people without power after they damaged equipment at a substation. Squirrels cause the most power outages every year since they not only use power lines as a means of travel but also look for warmth inside substations and are known for biting on cables.

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