Squirrel Attacks Have Power Users Fleeing

October 27, 2015

By Susan J. Campbell - Power Protection Contributing Editor

How much attention do you pay to squirrels? Depending on where you live, the answer may be either not much, or I have to try to avoid them on the road every day. I fall into the latter category as we live on 12 acres outside of a larger metropolitan area. But aside from trying to avoid them while driving, I don’t put much thought into these creatures or the impact they could have on power protection.

But those who are charged (no pun intended) with ensuring we’re able to keep our lights on pay a little more attention to squirrels. It seems that these creatures like to cause problems for the power grid. Could it be that whole gangs of squirrels have discovered the best retaliation for hunters and drivers who can’t seem to avoid the big tails darting across the pavement?

According to a report in the Charleston Gazette, squirrels are the new suicide bombers, but they don’t need any special equipment to get the job done. Their mode of attack was the power lines and their intended action – getting from one place to another. Chances are, squirrel colonies cheered when power lines first went up – we made their attempts to get from point A to point B much easier and free from vehicles.

This generation of squirrels may have missed the safety orientation, however. While line-walking squirrels don’t generally cause outages, the more daring creatures that hang out on transformers or at substations are likely challenging the best of the power protection in the market. And, because the target is often a substation, the outage will affect thousands of power customers.

The outage takes place when one part of the squirrel’s body comes into contact with an energized piece of equipment and the other part of the animal remains touching the ground. The animal is then electrocuted and the circuit breaker-like safety gear then causes a power outage. The poor little squirrel likely never knows what hit him, yet thousands of consumers are cursing the power outage until it’s fixed.

While little armies of rodents attacking the power grid is more fantasy than fact, the reality is animals can be a threat to our power, making power protection essential. Companies like Minuteman make it their business to ensure you have access to their information, data and systems at all times, even when a power outage occurs. If you’re ready to stand against the squirrels, it may be time to give Minuteman a call.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson