Why Businesses Have to Protect Equipment from Wildlife

July 07, 2017

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

While some power interruptions can be predicted – sometimes, they are even scheduled – most are unexpected and, frankly, for businesses, there is never a good time for a sudden outage.  Storms are probably the most commonly recognized sources of power outages, but various species of wildlife have been the culprits more frequently than most would expect.

Wednesday morning, a snake came into contact with equipment at an electrical substation in Grensville, South Carolina, knocking out power to nearly 5,000 customers.  The outage lasted only an hour, but at that point, the damage could easily have been done.  Any shorting of an electrical system can send a surge through your power lines, and even small surges can instantly damage the microprocessors in any of the devices your business relies on to operate, from servers to routers to storage devices, and basically and other technology.

As Duke Energy’s Ryan Mosier noted, utilities are aware of the dangers, and “work to create barriers to prevent wildlife from coming into contact

with equipment, but it is not an uncommon cause for an outage.”  The snake may well have been looking for a shaded area away from human traffic – substations would logically not be in highly trafficked areas, to avoid potential damage and disruption to service.

Businesses have to be aware of the potential for damage to equipment from power interruptions.  One of the items of their checklists should be to install a properly sized power protection system to ensure their sensitive equipment is not damaged by surges.  For a short outage, such as this one, it may even be feasible to install UPS systems that will allow continued operations while power is being restored.  Not only does that protect business equipment, but it allows the business to remain functional.

Edited by Alicia Young