Power Grid Damage from Squirrel Attacks on the Rise

power grid and squirrels

As you know, I like to blog about the power grid, emergency preparedness for various utility sectors, and similar topics.  As such I read a lot of industry publications to find topics to blog about, and throughout this process I have stumbled upon some really odd things from time to time – like biobots, “thunderstorm asthma,” and the so-called death print to name just a few. Well, today I’ve got another one for you – a database that documents power grid damage caused by squirrels (and other cute bastards as well). Sigh, sometimes I just can’t take it.

Click to check out the Cyber Squirrel database. As of the time of this writing, the site lists over 600 squirrel-related power grid disruptions, over 200 bird-related disruptions, and 53 raccoon problems. Nearly 140 of the squirrel incidents happened in 2015. Importantly, there are likely many unreported incidents, so these numbers underrepresent the true magnitude of the problem.

Of course, this is not a major issue for utility companies, I am only blogging about it because I think it’s funny. That said, it does underscore the importance of incorporating many diverse scenarios into the emergency planning process, especially scenario-based exercises and drills. You just never know what type of event will cause an outage, and therefore it makes sense to practice and plan around a wide range of events so that restoration personnel will be better equipped to deal with whatever is thrown at them.

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