Three-thousand people in the Burnet Road-Gracy Farms area of Austin lost power because of a squirrel.
Power was restored the same day, but we were left with the lingering question: How can a squirrel cause such a problem?
According to Ed Clark of Austin Energy:
A squirrel or any animal can cause a power outage when one part of the animal is touching a power line and another part is touching another piece of equipment such as the power pole. The power will move through the animal to the pole in what is called a phase-to-ground power surge and a power outage occurs. Squirrels cause hundreds out power outages each year in the Austin Energy system in spite of significant efforts to protect equipment with special guards used by all utilities across the country. Fact is – squirrels are a primary cause of non storm related power outages is every part of the country with significant tree canopy.