New Orleans Power Outage Results from Unusual Cause

September 21, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

While it’s unfortunately not unusual for wildlife to find their way into electrical substations and knocking out power to service areas, it’s somewhat unusual for household pets to be the culprits.  But, that’s what happened this week in New Orleans, when a cat got into a local substation around 8:30 Monday morning causing a power outage for more than 7,500 customers.  The cat apparently came into contact with the energized equipment causing a flash and resulting in the system to fail. 

Entergy New Orleans crews worked quickly to repair the substation and were able to restore power to the area by noon.

While utilities do their best to keep animals from being able to get into substations, many outages have resulted from squirrels, snakes, and even a bobcat in Kansas.  Birds, though, are second most frequent cause of local outages.   

Outages like this are completely unpredictable, and they are a major nuisance for businesses that suffer down time with each incident, something they can ill afford.  It’s one of the reasons so many businesses are moving to cloud-based communications and other business solutions, which enable employees to remain functional from anywhere. 

While continuity of communications is important, protecting on-premises equipment should be a major priority as well.  Outages can wreak havoc on  business technology, damaging circuits and causing damages that can be costly to repair – along with potentially weeks of lost business opportunity while systems are repaired or replaced. 

Power protection systems are designed to meet specific business needs, depending on their specific needs, and protect all connected equipment from damage from outages and surges.  Some can provide extended runtime to allow businesses to remain operational during outages, while others provide enough short-term power to allow systems to be properly shut down.  In either case, the critical element is that sensitive circuitry is protected – even small surges can damage network equipment.

Regardless of where a business is located, outages can happen at any time, as evidenced by this occurrence in New Orleans.  Investing in a power protection considerably outweighs the time and cost of replacing or repairing your equipment and then getting your business up and running again. 

Edited by Erik Linask