Insights > Power vs. Wild: Keeping Animals Out of Our Electrical Facilities

Power vs. Wild: Keeping Animals Out of Our Electrical Facilities

08/04/2021

Keeping your power on every time you walk in the door, clap or flip the switch is our priority, but did you know that there are creatures who lurk among us that can disrupt your power?

Year after year, the sneaky attacks of critters getting into electric facilities are responsible for thousands of power outages in New Orleans and utilities across the world. Possums, rats and even bulls have been known to cause service disruptions, but in our neck of the woods, birds, raccoons, squirrels and snakes can be the culprits.

In 2020, these smooth criminals were reported to have caused outages to more than 13,000 Entergy New Orleans customers

These animals may seem like your everyday urban wildlife, however, other utilities have reported outages due to unusual suspects:

  • In June 2021, two bears—on two separate occasions—climbed up a pole and became stuck in the powerlines causing a brief power outage to Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative customers in Arizona.
  • In Kenya, Africa, a small monkey caused a nation-wide outage when it made contact with a transformer at the Gitaru Power Station.
  • In North Carolina, a cow used a guy wire to rub it’s back, in turn breaking the powerline and cutting power to Duke Energy customers.
  • A bobcat in Florida caused an outage to 625 Gulf Power customers. It is unknown how the bobcat got on the power pole

We actively encourage customers to stay away from powerlines and since we cannot communicate with animals, our commitment to the environment plays a significant role in how we work to protect other creatures and keep them out of our facilities.

Entergy is currently a member of the Avian Powerline Interaction Committee to collaborate with other utilities, wildlife resource agencies, conservation groups and manufacturers of avian protection to find solutions to protect birds, while enhancing reliable energy.

We continue to take animal prevention measures for our substations and facilities, including:

  • Flashy, shiny reflectors to help birds avoid lines and prevent collisions.
  • Special squirrels guards outside of substations to prevent squirrels from running across overhead lines and reaching critical equipment. Spinning wheels on either side act as jump barriers and rollers spin if the squirrel makes it past the barriers.
  • Bushing caps to protect terminals where wires enter and exit from transformers. The bushing caps are polymer and plastic covers.
  • Insulated tape is wrapped around bare wires in locations near other components.
  • Fake owls posted on substation fences. Owls eat snakes and rodents, so they help discourage the animals that we can fool, not birds though. We move the owl around to create a real illusion.
  • Vanquish fencing (non-energized barrier) to stop all crawling animals from getting into the substation.

Although these critter criminals still find their way past our many guards and scarecrow owls, we will always work to outsmart these ingenious wreakers of havoc. And to remind you, Keep Your Distance. Keep Your Life.


Maleiya Porter-Jones
Communications Specialist II