Each year, TransGard names the five worst substation outages caused by climbing animals.

For 2014, the list includes dangerous, expensive and inconvenient outages at US substations:

  • Raccoon shuts down train service: a substation outage in Jersey City, New Jersey, cut power to 12,250 customers and shut down the service on the PATH train. The cause was a raccoon making contact with electrical equipment
  • Squirrel: In Tampa, two different squirrels shut down the same substation over a 48-hour period in December, leaving the University of South Florida and 7,000 users without power
  • Traffic collisions in Alaska: a small animal caused an outage at an Anchorage substation, leaving 3,400 customers without power. The accident also affected stoplights, leading to multiple collisions
  • Snakes: in late May, nearly every resident in Holton, Kansas, lost power twice in just five days because of a snake incursion into an area substation. During both outages, the entire city of Holton went dark
  • Basketball cancelled: A squirrel invading a Tulsa, Oklahoma, substation caused a widespread outage, which left 6,000 customers in the dark and caused Oral Roberts University to reschedule a basketball game

While squirrels continue to top the list of offenders when it comes to animal-caused outages, snakes, raccoons, possums and foxes were all responsible for major substation damage.

These outages represent a small fraction of the actual number of outages at US substations.

TransGard Systems, which has installed patented animal-prevention fencing at more than 2,500 substations, tracks outages across North America.