Hundreds of US Power Outages are Caused by…Squirrels?
When you think of power outages in this country, you generally think of weather related incidents and natural disasters – things like floods, fire, ice storms, heat waves and tornadoes.
It’s true, many power outages can be attributed to these events. However, believe it or not, many of the power outages that occur in the US are not the result of bad weather, but instead the result of squirrels and other small animals.
Yes, squirrels! And incidents seem to be on the rise. In fact, the number of incidents has significantly risen since we last touched on the squirrel issue in 2014. This squirrel problem is noteworthy enough that there is even a tongue-in-cheek website devoted to tracking power outages, or “cyber squirrel attacks” across the world: http://cybersquirrel1.com/ Even the Eaton Blackout Tracker lists animal related outages as causing 5% of all outages country-wide.
They are cute, they are furry and they are also destructive. Why? They use power lines as their personal cross-country highways. The lines are high, convenient, and offer safe routes over roads. Not to mention they are also near food-bearing trees and roof-lines. Power lines are the squirrel super-highway with road side stops for lunch and play time!
The lines are strong enough to easily support them, so why the outages? The gruesome truth is squirrels are long enough that their bodies can easily bridge the space between wires, transformer components, and other pieces of the electrical grid that can lead to a short circuit.
Under ideal circumstances, the electrical shock knocks the critter from the equipment, and the flow of electricity resumes, but in many instances the body of the squirrel remains lodged in the equipment, triggering a continuous fault that may trip circuit breakers or damage nearby equipment.
So what can you do to ensure your mission critical isn’t being interrupted?
A Comprehensive Energy Security Plan Can Help Protect Against Squirrels
Simply installing a generator or UPS does not guarantee that you will have the power needed to sustain data protection and operations. A comprehensive energy security plan is a proactive approach that will provide you with protection and peace of mind.
A security plan can help you identify points of vulnerability within your facility, and implement security measures to mitigate future problems. A plan requires an in-depth understanding of your business, processes and power dependence.
The first step in establishing your plan is to review your facilities critical power infrastructure. A study will identify the requirements and areas of vulnerability within your facility. It will also provide an in-depth review of equipment efficiency, operational costs, ongoing maintenance and support, required run time, electrical integration and internal needs.
Find a specialist in the field who can conduct a data driven, vendor-neutral objective study to determine the level of power security you need.
Power supply outages threaten your business and its critical data. Squirrels may cause power supply outages, but you can outsmart them. Take action and protect your data now with a review of your critical power infrastructure.