Power Outages and Animals

Are squirrels the only animal that causes power outages?

Squirrels are particularly pesky, followed by birds, raccoons, rats and snakes. While here at Nebraska City Utilities lately our most pesky creature has been the raccoon. Animal-caused outages may be difficult to detect because carcasses are not always easily found. The interruption in power can be a short blink that may only last a few seconds to a catastrophic failure that lasts longer.

Many of these creatures are attracted to the humming warmth of electrical equipment, while snakes slither into substations looking for food, often bird’s nests.

Nebraska City Utilities installs pole wraps and insulated cover ups in problem areas to help prevent animal contact.

Some unusual animal-related outages include:

    • A turkey made its way into a substation in North Platte, Ne and caused over 6,000 people to be without electricity 2 days after Thanksgiving 2015.
    • A cow rubbing against a guy wire, broke a primary line in Mooresville, NC. Duke Energy workers found the cow on its back and all 4 legs up in the air, it was reported the cow didn’t fare well in the end.
    • Tent caterpillars cause numerous power outages in Liberty, Tx. When thousands of them hatching from eggs in trees covered the transformers.

Other problem animals can be skunks, wild cats (bob cats, mountain lions, etc.)

Any time an interruption in power occurs our crews are sent out to inspect our lines and to look for why the interruption happened.