Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fried Squirrel

This morning the lights went out. All I could do was wonder how I'd be able to catch up on the morning news reports about the elction returns. Thankfully we put in a generator so imporotant house functions will work - ie, refrigerator, toilet and internet.

Then I read this story online and found out why we lost electricity. You just can't make this stuff up: From the Danbury NewTimes:

Squirrels strike again!

Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/05/2008 01:47:53 PM EST

By Eugene Driscoll
DANBURY - A squirrel wandered into a CL&P substation on Triangle Street today, causing a 60-minute power failure that caused scores of traffic lights to go dark during the morning rush hour.
About 5,000 CL&P customers were without power.
It was the second time in six weeks a squirrel at the Triangle Street substation caused power to go out.
Are city squirrels suicidal?
No, said Mitch Grossman, spokesman for Connecticut Light & Power.
"It happens. It is part of maintaining the grid. These animals and birds sometimes step where they are not supposed to," Gross said.
How often does it happen?
In Georgia, squirrel-related power outages tripled between 2005 and 2006, according to an article in USA Today.
CL&P doesn't keep track of squirrel-related power problems, but Gross estimated animal-related outages - birds, squirrels, raccoons or other critters - have accounted for 17 percent of all power failures in Connecticut this year.
That is about 2,200 of about 13,000 power failures in the state.
Animal-related power failures are much more common than lightning strikes, which comprise only about 6 percent of all electrical problems.
Trees and their branches are still the power grid's nemesis, accounting for about 35 percent of all power failures this year (down from 50 percent last year, thanks to an aggressive CL&P tree-trimming operation, Gross said).
Squirrels do not get fried merely by touching an electrical line. The incidents happen when a squirrel touches the line and something nearby, such as the metal part of a transformer. Killer current then flows through its body.
At a substation, the equipment picks up on the disturbance and automatically shuts down. It takes about an hour for CL&P workers to inspect the area and turn the power on again, Gross said.
The utility company has equipment meant to ward off animals.
"In our substations we use squirrel guards. It is a device that covers certain equipment to hopefully keep them from going where they are not supposed to go," Gross said.
Squirrels are naturally curious animals. They could also be attracted to substations and utility pole transformers for warmth or shelter.
However, not everyone is worried about the fate of our furry friends.
"All Squirrels Must Die!" the Web site declares.
It features essays with titles such as "deadly encounters with squirrels," "stupid squirrel screwed up my new car," and "James Bond squirrel: This cunning squirrel faced a .22 assault head on while in a cage and escaped!"

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites