Outages Due to Squirrels: More Prevalent Than You Think

January 21, 2016

By Michelle Amodio - Power Protection Contributor

Power outages and fluctuations are just a natural part of being connected to a grid. While we’re used to reading about outages occurring due to nature or faulty lines, one common cause for many outages is neither weather nor grid-related. Believe it or not, a certain furry rodent is responsible for more than half of U.S. power outages. Yes, the squirrel is a bigger threat than hackers, and there’s some data to back this up. CyberSquirrel, an organization that tracks outages caused by the furry beasts, says it logged 300 events in 2015 worldwide.

Squirrels often use power lines as their roadways; the line are high, convenient, and offer safe routes over roads, near to food-bearing trees and roof-lines. Of course, this means that squirrels can bridge the space between wires, transformer components, and other pieces of the electrical grid that can lead to a short circuit. What you’re left with is a dead squirrel and several people and businesses without power.

Folks of Easthampton, Massachusetts, experienced an outage when a squirrel tripped a circuit breaker, leaving 150 customers without power and an additional 1,700 residents experiencing what’s known as a “cascade effect.” Essentially, there was a failure in one part, which triggered a series of others.

Thankfully, customers weren’t down for long – only about an hour. But the truth of the matter is, squirrels are known for finding places where they don’t belong. With the colder temps drawing them to warmer equipment, it can sadly lead to their demise, and an outage for many.

While many utility companies have applied measures to keep squirrel-related incidents at bay, there are other ways to mitigate the losses that come with power fluctuations and outages, squirrel or not.

A good start is investing in an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS. Aside from maintaining power when necessary, UPS prevents data loss and offers surge protection. The UPS automatically switches to AC-generated battery power, preventing the spike or surge from harming whatever is connected to it. A UPS also prevents power fluctuations.

Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert) is a provider of power protection solutions and offers an array of products, from outlet surge protectors to UPSs, all of which are designed to keep businesses going despite what plans the squirrels have in store for power grids nationwide.

In addition to keeping things running smoothly, using power protection equipment can also save institutions thousands in costly damages due to outages in the event of an interruption or total outage.

Leave the squirrel management up to the power companies and protect yourself from outages by investing in power protection equipment.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson