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How Animals Cause Power Outages

Little creatures can cause big headaches for utility companies and customers.

When you think about power outage causes, you generally think of weather related incidents such as tornadoes, hurricanes, strong winds or snowstorms. However, another factor causes thousands of power outages a year. And it’s not what you think. Enter our furry animal friends. From squirrels to birds, raccoons to even monkeys or foxes, animals are responsible for thousands ofoutages and millions of dollars in outage-related damage each year.

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Curiosity Killed the…..Squirrel?

Like humans, animals are often curious creatures who make their way in to areas that probably shouldn’t be. Intrigued by the humming of electrical units, or the warmth the equipment provides,animals often find themselves in dangerous situations due to their curiosity. If an animal chews on a cord, or find their way into a transformer or substation, damage can be substantial.Often times, utility workers can tell an animal was the cause of a power outage because their corpseis left behind. Other times, the animals may cause damage but only experience a shock similar to if you were to touch a wire in your home. Birds can also largely contribute to animal-related power outages. Waste from building their nests can cause build up on the power lines or insulators. Shortages caused by a bird as they take flight can cause outages as well.

What are companies doing to prevent outages?

Many utility companies monitor outage reasons and implement solutions to reduce them in the future. Installing disks that fit around insulators is one way to do so. The disks keep animals from touching a grounded part of the electrical grid to an energized part and insulates the animals from electrocuting themselves. Other companies have implemented platforms for birds to build their nests in so they don’t need to use the power lines. Placing equipment where animals can’t reach it or erecting special fencing or “critter guards” are other methods to reduce the animal caused power outages.

What can you do to prevent power loss?

Home backup power. It’s almost impossible to tell when an animal might find their way into your town’s substation. Making it difficult for you to prepare for an outage. But, there is good news. Home backup power is the most reliable way to keep your appliances and electronics running when outages occur. Choose from options that power your whole house all the time, or just the essentials when you need them.

Save Your Power Before it Goes Out

Generac can help you pick the best home backup power option for you and your family. Our sizing calculator suggests the type of unit your home needs based on the items you want to power. We have licensed professional dealers will even asses your home power needs for free.