Minnesota squirrel causes power outage for more than 9,000 residents

By | September 13, 2022

A squirrel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, disrupted a power transmission on Sunday, leaving around 9,500 people in the dark.

The outage lasted about an hour before crews were able to restore most of the power, according to energy provider Xcel.

“What happened is that a squirrel came into contact with some of our equipment that caused the outage,” Xcel spokesperson Lacey Nygard told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

It’s unclear what happened to the squirrel.

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Animals are the leading cause of power outages in the U.S., according to the American Public Power Association.

And the issue is worse in areas where overheated transmission lines run among the trees. The animals will accidentally cause a short while running along the lines, and electrocute themselves in the process.

Sunday’s outage in Minnesota was just the most recent U.S. blackout caused by a squirrel in recent days.¬†

On Wednesday, 10,000 Virginia Beach residents and two schools suffered power outages after a squirrel made its way into a substation. That power outage lasted about 90 minutes.

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“The squirrel got between a circuit breaker and a transformer, causing a power surge that made the transformer fail,” Dominion Energy spokesperson Bonita Billingsley Harris told WVEC at the time.