Thursday, September 30, 2010

Squirrel Uprising

Both the Commercial Appeal and Channel 3 have done stories today about the outage that affected Substation 6 in Midtown this morning. The outage was caused by a squirrel getting into equipment and causing a short circuit. The outage affected 4,800 customers and was quickly restored in about an hour and a half. Many CA commenters fear a squirrel uprising.

Here are some things to remember:

• MLGW was able to quickly restore power in this case, with many customers getting restored within an hour.

• This outage was caused by a squirrel getting into electrical equipment and causing a short circuit that affected part of Substation 6, which serves part of Midtown.

• Squirrels are actually very nice creatures who normally mind their own business.

• Animal related issues are something that every utility deals with, and they are very rare at the substation level.

• This is the 4th animal-related substation outage this year. There were four in all of last year, three in 2008 and only two in 2007.

• Since the 90’s, MLGW has implemented an extensive animal mitigation program for overhead transformers involving the installation of guards to keep squirrels and raccoons clear of energized components.

• Our substation animal mitigation program has been in place since 2006. It is ongoing, though MLGW has stepped up its efforts in recent months to add additional protection.

• This particular piece of equipment did not have animal mitigation protection. However, other equipment at Substation 6 is protected, and MLGW will seek to make improvements.

• Sometimes there are limits to what can be covered and/or shielded, because it must still be accessible for construction crews to perform routine maintenance and make repairs.

• Substations are a particular challenge because they usually occupy an area of several acres and are virtually impossible to keep completely free of small animals. In addition, there are hundreds of locations in each station that may be vulnerable.

• At newer substations, we have designed to provide greater clearances between live pieces of equipment, making it less likely that an animal can bridge the energized equipment.

1 comment:

musewinters said...

Is the Squirrel ok? HAHA

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