Electricity in this present time plays a major role in powering homes, businesses, buildings and industries globally. Living on the same habitat with wildlife makes it possible for them to interfere the structures and equipment of our electrical system. The electrical system tends to be deadly and unexpected meeting place for the natural world and modern technology. Multiple encounters were recorded globally which led to animal mortality and large power outages in a city.
One of the most common animal encounters in the electrical system involves the squirrels. Squirrels have the ability in chewing through insulation and causing short circuits. They are responsible for a significant number of power outages each year, costing utilities millions of dollars in repairs and resulting to loss in production and potential income for businesses.
Squirrels have nothing against the electrical grid. It is their sharp teeth that grow continuously, forcing them to gnaw on things to keep them from getting too long. Unfortunately, when a squirrel pays a visit on electrical substations and start gnawing electrical wires, it can lead to sparks, fires, and power outages.
Birds also have their share encounters within the electrical system. Transformers, large metal equipment that convert high-voltage electricity into lower voltage suitable for house loads and businesses, are their favorite nesting spot. While it may be a warm and perfect place to raise their young, consequences can be dangerous. The buildup of debris and materials used for nests inside the transformers can cause electrical arcing, fires, and even bird electrocution.
Aside from nesting encounters, birds normally perch on electrical towers and power lines. However, when a bird spreads its wings and they make contact on both lines, they create an electrical pathway, create a power outage and that can easily put a city in complete darkness. When birds fly at low altitude, it can also lead to collisions and create power issues.
Snakes on the other hand are attracted to the warmth generated by electrical equipment, making substations an inviting place to seek shelter and warmth. However, their presence can lead to electrical faults, outages, and potentially fatal encounters for the snakes themselves.
Moving from the skies and ground, we also had an encounter with animals living in deep sea. It may seem funny to imagine how sea animals may have interaction with our electrical system. A report from New Jersey stated that a fish has knocked out power of 2,100 customers. Its not that the fish swam towards the electrical system, but a bird dropping the fish while cruising above a transformer. Though power outages caused by animals are common, caused by fish is far by uncommon.
The advancing world of electrical systems is not totally isolated from the natural world. Animal encounters in the electrical system proves that we share our environment with a diverse array of wildlife. While these encounters are unexpected and can be destructive depending on the event, different methods were introduced to mitigate wildlife mortality and power outages. One of the most effective ways of mitigating is the application of animal protective products like equipment covers, insulation tapes and barriers. Midsun IKM, based in Austria, specializes in distributing over 100 wildlife outage protection products. These are ready-made products for power companies, electrical substations, transmission, and distribution lines to show its commitment to protect power companies and mitigate risk to wildlife at any season.
Chasan, A. (2023, August 16). Thousands lost power in a New Jersey town after an unexpected animal fell on a transformer. CBS NEWS - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-jersey-sayreville-residents-lost-power-unexpected-animal-fell-on-a-transformer/