Critters Finding Ways to Cause Power Outages, Disrupt Business

July 28, 2017

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Power outages are a nuisance, regardless of when or why they occur.  They disrupt activities at home and halt workflows at businesses, often resulting in lost revenue opportunities.  While weather and fallen trees and branches are, by far, the most common causes of outages, which can last hours or even days, it seems there is a growing battle between utilities and animals, as critters or all shapes and sizes are finding creative ways of circumventing protective measures, and are creating unexpected and unpredictable outages nationwide.

According to reports, squirrels are the most common critter culprits.  @cybersquirrel1, for instance, gives squirrels 2:1 odds over other animals, though there have been a number of other wildlife species responsible for outages recently, as well. 

Fortunately, most of those outages are short-lived, as utilities are able to quickly repair any damages and restore power, as was the case in San Diego earlier this week, when a squirrel made contact with an energized line, causing some 45,000 customers to lose power in the middle of the day.  Damage was minimal and no major repairs were required, fortunately, so power was restored quickly, in this case.  Instances of wildlife-related outages, however, are becoming more and more common, even as utilities seek to protect their substations and other equipment.

Of course, the immediate impact of lost business is a concern, but for many businesses, the greater worry should be potential damage to technology.  Even is power is restored in mere minutes, the power surge when the outage occurred can damage sensitive sensors and circuits, rendering servers, routers, switches, phones, and other critical technology useless.

Fortunately, there is a relatively easy solution for avoiding such situations – installing a good power protection and UPS system, which will not only protect equipment, but also allow proper shutdown to reduce risk of lost or corrupted data and other work.  As with cyber security measures, power protection tends to be a reactionary measure that businesses take after they have been impacted.  But, proactively installing a right-sized system that will protect your critical infrastructure can save not only money, but many hours of labor and frustration.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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