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Squirrel causes blackout
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A curious critter caused electrical outages for more than 13,000 customers in Warren County early Friday morning. Those affected were without power for 40 minutes.
“It was a squirrel,” said Caney Fork Electric service department employee Teresa Parker. “Some just don’t believe me when I tell them that, but it was a squirrel. They can do all kinds of damage.”
In this case, the squirrel got into a breaker at the McMinnville substation which is located in Newtown. At 6:17 a.m. it knocked out a portion of McMinnville Electric System and all the customers Caney Fork Electric serves out of the McMinnville substation.
“It is rare when one squirrel can cause an outage this large, but it does happen,” said MES manager of engineering and operations Ralph Dunn. “It was my first time to experience that at this substation. The squirrel was just climbing around and made contact with an energized part.”
The substation is where power comes from Tennessee Valley Authority and is delivered into the area. That is why both McMinnville Electric and Caney Fork Electric customers were affected. However it was not a TVA power outage, says Parker.
In all, service was interrupted to 8,300 Caney Fork Electric residential customers and 5,300 McMinnville Electric System residential and commercial customers. The situation was resolved and power restored by 6:57 a.m.
The squirrel did not survive.