Part of Grid Network »

The Transmission Professionals special interest group covers the distribution of power from generation to final destination. 


Keep squirrels off our lines

image credit: Photo 24650084 / Energy © Huating |
Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner , Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

  • Member since 2018
  • 696 items added with 332,101 views
  • Dec 31, 2021

Human intuition is far from perfect, especially when it comes to prioritizing risks. I know many people who are more scared of mass shooters than they are of merging onto the freeway, for example. As this relates to transmission, observers rightfully fret about melting lines in the North West and laborious development processes that slow down important infrastructure projects. However, I see very little about one specific problem that’s hamstrung our transmission system since the beginning: I’m talking about squirrels.

In 2016, squirrels caused 3,456 outages in the U.S. alone.  In 2005, a german squirrel fried itself on some lines in the town of Elster, knocking out a huge swath of power in eastern Germany. These incidents are most common in the fall and spring, but they can really happen at any time. Sometimes the little critters spark outages by merely venturing into the wrong places, but usually they cause destruction by chewing on equipment.  Their proclivity for chewing is hard to circumvent, as they can munch through many of the different shields utilities use to keep them out. Some savvy power companies use trip savers, devices that detect interference on the lines and temporarily power them down. While they help, trip savers are far from a cure-all.

With all the noise made and money spent on modernizing our grid, barely a peep has been made about keeping squirrels off our lines. Am I right in thinking the return on research investment might be pretty sweet on this specific problem? I’d love to know what you think.


Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Jan 6, 2022

I guess one approach is to introduce, or stop killing, species that prey on squirrels, e.g. hawks, eagles, owls, raccoons, etc. See this.

Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »