Curious Squirrel Blamed for Power Outage in Nova Scotia

February 04, 2016

By Joe Rizzo - Contributing Writer

Nova Scotia is one of eastern Canada's Maritime Provinces on the Atlantic. Over this past weekend a snowstorm passed through the area with heavy snow falls knocking out electricity to about 67,000 customers. It took a while to restore power to all the customers who were without electricity due to the storm that damaged utility lines across the province.

Snowstorms and lightning strikes are the type of factors that normally cause power outages, but it seems that Nova Scotia has had some unusual causes to add to the list. Over the past 10 years Nova Scotia's power utility has blamed several blackouts on birds like crows and seagulls hitting the power lines. The utility even blamed salt in heavy fog for brief, widespread outages in the Halifax area in 2006.

Unrelated to the power outage caused by the snowstorm, another outage occurred a day earlier when a squirrel was electrocuted after climbing a transformer in a substation in the Hammonds Plains area. According to spokeswoman Beverly Ware, this instance left about 5,400 people without power for nearly two hours.

Halifax author Stephen Kimber believes he knows the reason behind all the power outages. He said, "You can probably find that there are legitimate examples that Nova Scotia Power is using for certain power failures, but in virtually every storm, even minor rainfalls and snowstorms, the power goes out. Why does the power go out? Because they haven't put the money into making sure the system has all the backups that it needs."

Regardless of whether a snowstorm or squirrel is the cause, when the power goes out, there is no telling when it will be restored. The question to consider is what can be done to try to save as much information and equipment during situations such as this.

The answer is a simple one, but it is also one that most people do not take advantage of. I am referring to an uninterruptable power supply (UPS), such as those provided by Minuteman Power Technologies (News - Alert). Connecting your more sensitive equipment and data storage devices to a UPS could save a lot of headaches and possibly some money.

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