The PA squirrels attack again : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nibbling squirrel causes power outage in east end

JASON MCKEE, Mercury Staff Writer June 15, 2001 POTTSTOWN -- A power outage that left some 4,000 customers in the east end of town without electricity Thursday morning was apparently caused by some inappropriate nibbling. A PECO spokeswoman said the outage, which started at 8:41 a.m. and lasted until 12:30 p.m., was caused by a squirrel gnawing on some wires.

It's not uncommon for squirrels to chew on wires every day, but these wires were a little different.

The squirrel decided to eat away at the junction of the two main power feeds that deliver electricity to Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. Hospitals are equipped with dual feeds to ensure immediate backup of power should one of the lines fail.

This particular junction is sensitive because of the proximity of both power lines, a detail the squirrel may or may not have been aware. The disruption caused the power in both lines to be cut off temporarily.

The hospital, along with the majority of the 4,000 affected customers, was without power for about one minute, according to PECO officials. A hospital spokeswoman said the outage amounted to little more than the lights flickering. None of the electrical systems of the hospital were damaged by the minor inconvenience, hospital officials said.

About 1,500 customers were without power for several hours, including the McDonald's located on East High Street.

"We were down for four hours," according to restaurant Manager Tom Chernesky.

The Burger King located a few blocks away was also without power, but its outage lasted only 30 minutes, according to Manager Sam Patel.

Neither restaurant manager would offer a dollar estimate of how much business was lost, but one of the busiest locations during the morning rush along this commercial cluster is the Dunkin' Donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts Manager Darshan Pasawala said his store's power was out for more than an hour.

"That's our busiest time," Pasawala said. "Most of our business is done between 6 and 11 a.m."

So the morning feed of many commuters was diminished by some aimless chewing done in a sensitive area by a tree-dwelling rodent with a bushy tail. Perhaps the lack of coffee caused some tempers to rise and many no doubt showed up at work a little cranky; but the true victim never made it to lunch.

The squirrel was electrocuted, PECO officials said.

-- Martin Thompson (, June 15, 2001



Another balloon causes power outage

For the second time in less than a week, an advertising balloon has caused a power failure in north Spokane.

A balloon that belonged to a business at Holland Avenue and Newport Highway got caught in wires Thursday just after 10:30 a.m., said Avista spokeswoman Catherine Parochetti.

The incident shut down electricity for about an hour to about 1,200 residences near the Division Street Y, including Whitworth College.

Parochetti declined to name the business that owned the balloon, citing Avista policy.

On June 8, a car dealer's advertising balloon that resembled a blimp also got tangled in a power line. That caused a power failure in the same area that lasted about an hour to 250 customers.

Parochetti said Avista's policy is to bill those responsible for incidents that require line repair. date=061501&ID=s978393&cat=section.spokane

-- Martin Thompson (, June 15, 2001.

Squirrels, Manhole covers and balloons. This must be some kind of conspiracy.

-- Martin Thompson (, June 15, 2001.

Arent' the squirrels using the ballons as a delivery vehicle?

I'm hearing music from 'Apocolypse Now' and the air assualt scene...


-- j (, June 19, 2001.

On a more serious note, I offer this thought: the rather long delays in restoring power (say, after a breaker trips from squirrel or mylar balloon short circuits) are a reflection of reduced work crews. To serve the bottom line, fewer work crews are distributed through the utility's service area and repairs take longer (really, getting a crew assembled and on the scene takes longer). Certainly this effect is increasingly obvious where I live in PA; I am "served" by a different utility but I am sure the same cost-cutting measures are involved.

-- Andre Weltman (, June 20, 2001.

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