Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Raccoon causes power outage

A raccoon is to blame for a brief power outage locally shortly after 3 a.m. today.
Fort Frances Power Corp. superintendent Brian Mueller said a ringed-tail bandit entered the FFPC’s substation at Eighth Street and Walker Avenue, climbed one of the towers, and made contact with a 115,000-volt line.

“When it did that, it tripped our [oil circuit breakers] and that, in turn, went back across the road to the Hydro One station and it caused outages to portions of the district east and west of here,” he explained.
“He caused quite a bit of damage for one little fella,” added Mueller, who noted the raccoon didn’t survive the shocking experience.
The outage affected 3,600 customers in Fort Frances, as well as some Hydro One customers outside of town.
The power was out for about 45 minutes for FFPC customers, said Mueller, though noting the Hydro One customers were restored even sooner.
Mueller said a raccoon being the cause of an outage was “a very unusual circumstance.”
“We do a good job of maintaining the substation to prevent any kind of intrusions like that,” he remarked.
“But they could burrow in or get through a fence somehow—I’m not sure how.
“We’ll look into that situation,” Mueller added. “They’re good at climbing.”
Outages most often are caused by lightning strikes or a squirrel frying itself on a transformer.
But in the case of the latter, the outage is localized to a small number of customers in a particular neighbourhood.
“It’s highly unusually that [the raccoon] went right to the main source and affected the whole town,” noted Mueller.
“We were quite surprised when that happened.”

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