Five Worst Substation Outages of 2014

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.

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