Why did more than 3,000 Northern Virginians lose power on Wednesday? This time it's not because of a storm. It's because of a squirrel.
According to Dominion Power spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson, approximately 3,100 customers were affected in the neighborhoods surrounding Lee Highway and Glebe Road. Anderson said a squirrel made its way into the substation equipment on N. Culpeper Street, and caused a transformer to go out.
Dominion Power spokesperson Le-Ha Anderson tells The Huffington Post that all customers had their power on before 11 a.m., and that while squirrels sometimes survive their substation misadventures, "we did see evidence that the squirrel was killed in this particular incident."
A little over a year ago, squirrel misbehavior shut off the lights for more than 9,000 Arlingtonians. A Maryland power outage earlier in the summer was also attributed to squirrels.
As it turns out, squirrels are often responsible when the lights go out. Here's a 2012 white paper put out by TE Connectivity, finding that squirrels are a surprisingly effective foe to electricity users (and power companies):
The second highest cause of power outages -- estimated to be approximately 7 percent overall -- is caused by animals; mostly squirrels who gain access to substations. The cost to utility companies for recovering from animal-related outages is estimated to run between $15 million and $18 million per year. But, when commercial entities and consumer frustration are taken into consideration, the overall cost of these outages to utility companies can be much higher.
For every problem, there's a solution. And for every solution that happens to involve cute animals, there's a video.
General Manager - Staff Entomologist