Pesky Animals and Power Outages
DeRidder— We are all aware that lighting, wind and trees can cause power outages, but animals that climb, dig, fly and slither can also cause numerous problems for electric utilities. Squirrels, snakes, raccoons and birds are the most common of animals that cause power outages, squirrels being the number one cause of animal related outages throughout the United States.
Each month, significant amounts of BECi outages are animal related. In 2013, 596 outages were due to squirrels and another 108 were due to snakes, birds and other animals. This year, BECi is experiencing an increase in animal related outages with 339 reported animal related outages (282 squirrels, 57 birds, snakes and other animals) since January compared to the 403 animal related outages in all of 2014. In May, 1,299 members in the Ragley area were without power for a few hours after two snakes made their way into the Ragley substation.
There are many ways animals can cause outages. Nesting, chewing, roosting and plain curiosity top the list of causes around the country, but the most common is when an animal sitting or crawling on a line causes a short circuit. A short circuit happens when an animal’s body comes in contact with a piece of energized equipment. The path of electricity is diverted, traveling through the animal’s body, in search of a ground source. When the path of electricity is interrupted, special equipment senses this change and stops the flow of electricity, causing a power outage.
While there is no way to completely eliminate animal related outages, BECi uses a variety of special equipment including barriers, coverings and special coated wiring, to keep animals away from lines and equipment. It is important for members to remember to keep trees, bushes and feeders, where animals congregate, away from power lines.
Outages are an unavoidable event for an electric provider, but BECi is continuously working to supply our members with safe, affordable and reliable electricity. If you experience a power outage, you can report it using our 24-hour automated answering service by calling (800) 367-0275.
BECi is the distribution cooperative that serves the electric needs of more than 40,000 residential, commercial and industrial members in a 7-parish area of southwest and central Louisiana.
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