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Critter Guard

By John Sims

Distinctly Different
According to the American Public Power Association, squirrels are among the top causes of power outages across the United States. The Great Lakes region has squirrels as the #1 cause of sustained outages. And in many cases, bird related outages are at number two.
Nobody likes to admit that it’s a problem. The most common answer when you ask about how you deal with squirrels is: “I just get my gun”. Of course, that answer is always spoken in jest, and usually followed up with something along the lines of “that’s kind of frowned on around here”.
The reality is that there are a myriad of ways to go about animal mitigation. One of the most obvious places to concentrate animal mitigation efforts is the substation, where high value assets need high uptime, without having to worry about a pesky critter. And if you’re trying to keep an animal from potentially creating a flashover event by touching a live / energized component, it’s obvious to think of “covering” or guarding that device.
This article details a distinctly different approach offered by Critter Guard which has proven to be effective for many public utilities, industrial companies, and even home and business owners for 20 years now and counting. We’re going to focus on squirrels and bird mitigation, because these are the top two animal
types involved in sustained outages for electrical power utilities.

Understanding Behavior
Squirrels can be cute animals, but they are still a rodent. Essentially, they are rats with cuter outfits. Unfortunately they are a reliability concern for all overhead distribution systems near wooded areas. Squirrels are great climbers and will use both wooden and steel/concrete utility poles to reach the overhead “highway”. Overhead lines are a great means of transport for the squirrel as they can scamper quickly from one end to the other with no predators. They are curious, quick, agile, and actually related to beavers. Contrary to popular opinion, squirrels don’t “chew” just to eat. They are gnawing their teeth down. Of course, the problem is potential bridging. A squirrel simply standing on a grounded transformer and “exploring” the bushing can cause a bridge and a flashover event.

Read full article in the Electrical Substations Special Edition 2021

Critter Guard advertisement in the issue: "MOST ANIMAL GUARDS GET IN THE WAY - Not CRITTER GUARD!"

Watch the video: Critter Guard - Distinctly Different Animal Mitigation

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