Top 4 Critters that Caused Power Outages in 2019

squirrel on unguarded power line

Most people associate power outages with severe weather like thunderstorms and blizzards. However, a very high number of outages are caused by local wildlife each year. These normally harmless creatures can cause big problems for power lines without proper deterrents. Take a look at these top four power outage-inducing critters of 2019.

1. Squirrels

These fuzzy creatures are by far the most common perpetrator of power outages. Squirrels have been known to gnaw through insulation and burrow into substations. Last year, the most widespread incident happened in Wichita, Kansas. Over 6,000 customers were left without power for most of that morning, all because of one squirrel!

2. Birds

Large avians like raptors and pelicans often use power lines and utility poles as a perch to look for food. Unfortunately, this behavior can often lead to the bird’s electrocution and result in a power outage. In San Diego, a single bird knocked out power for over 24,000 customers.

In some cases, it's not the fault of the actual bird. Several incidents of outages due to bird nests or excrement have also been reported. Last summer, a game was delayed at Tropicana stadium for almost an hour because of a fallen bird's nest.

3. Raccoons

While not as common as squirrels or birds, raccoons do their fair share of damage to power lines. In July, a raccoon found its way into a breaker and cut off power for around 10,000 customers. A raccoon was also the cause of a widespread outage in the Altoona, PA area early last year.

4. Snakes

Small reptiles have been known to climb power lines during rainy seasons. One large snake caused an outage that lasted for 24 hours in Kentucky! The serpent was found curled around the transformer, possibly in pursuit of a bird's nest.

Unprotected electrical components like power lines, utility poles, transformers, and substations all prove to be an attraction to these critters, often causing harm to the animal and our power infrastructure. At Critter Guard, we offer humane solutions to keep your lights on and every animal safe. Our Line Guard and Pole Guard products are designed to prevent wildlife from gaining access to power lines and utility poles, reducing animal casualties and power outages. To learn more about our products, contact us today!

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  • John Sims