Raccoon Strikes Power Grid, Prompts Power Protection Plans

May 26, 2017

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

We all know that the power grid is a powerful yet inherently fragile thing, like a cannon made of glass. It delivers electricity to thousands of homes every day, and only occasionally fails due to storm or other conditions. Sometimes, as Kissimmee residents found out, those “other conditions” can be surprisingly simple, showing us all why it's a good idea to have power protection measures in place.

In Kissimmee, one lone raccoon managed to knock out power to almost 5,200 people recently for an hour, just by climbing a piece of equipment it was never supposed to climb. Once it reached the top of said climb, it made contact with 13,200 volts of electricity, and died at the scene, according to Kissimmee Utility Authority vice president of corporate communications Chris Gent.

Once the raccoon made its fatal contact, reports note, three primary feeder lines fail, and with those feeder lines went the power to around 5,200 Kissimmee residents for the better part of an hour.

There's very little that power companies can do to prevent the unauthorized access of the non-sentient—animals don't particularly care about signs that read things like “DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE” or “NO ACCESS PERMITTED”; there's just no meaning for them in these—so it falls to us, the regular end-user of grid power, to be prepared in the event of emergency.

Whether it's something as simple as a uninterruptible power supply like those commonly offered by Minuteman or something more pronounced like a full generator, there are several ways to secure a backup power supply for those times when such a thing is needed. By working to secure power in advance, businesses improve the chances that operations can continue, even when the power doesn't. Look at how AXA recently dealt with such matters; by installing its own backup power generators, it could carry on with regular operations with only a minimum of disruption.

It's even possible to use the practice of backup power generation as a positive community impact method; installing solar panels or wind turbines on the campus can help keep power going and reduce carbon footprints, which can mean excellent additions to local or even national press about such efforts.

No matter what the method, or what the reason, power protection is a vital part of everyday operations. Being ready for that next power pole collision, that next thunderstorm, or that next raccoon that blunders into a place it should never have been, is crucial to making sure your business keeps running, even when the power doesn't.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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