Squirrel Power: Behind your power outages

These days, the number of animal lovers is gradually increasing and it’s good to be an animal lover but what if some of these creatures are eating up your gadgets and thus not allowing you to take advantage of some of the greatest inventions by the mankind. Shocking?? Yes, but it is true!!

Believe it or not, a certain furry rodent is responsible for more than half of U.S. power outages. Sometimes rodents gnaw through insulation guarding power lines and sometimes they end up lurking in high voltage system due to their inability to read the high warnings. There have been myriad cases of damages to power systems. In June 2015, squirrels caused a power outage for 45,000 people in East Bay, Berkeley in the USA. Another incident of March 2013 shows that these rodents are suicide bombers where a rat caused a power outage in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. The damage caused by rodents proves to be very expensive for the plant and owner of the equipment. Rodents have a bad habit of chewing; therefore they are allured by wires and other appliances as they are hard and help them in sharpening their teeth

Squirrels often use power lines as their roadways; the line is high, convenient, and offer safe routes over roads, near to food-bearing trees and roof-lines. Of course, this means that squirrels can bridge the space between wires, transformer components, and other pieces of the electrical grid that can lead to a short circuit. What you’re left with is a dead squirrel and several people and businesses without power.

According to the American Public Power Association, the squirrels are a frequent cause of such power outages. These rodents are such a problem to the society that the American Public Power Association tracks the blackouts caused in America through the SquirrelIndex. These power outages and blackouts are increasing day by day and the worst part is that we cannot do much to prevent them.

The rodents are no less than a threat to cybersecurity. In 1987, a squirrel took out the data from NASDAQ computer centers which eventually lead to the loss in trading. There have been various such cases. There is even a site, CyberSquirrel.com which especially runs to create awareness about the harm caused by these rodents to cybersecurity. CyberSquirrel, an organization that tracks the outages caused by the furry beasts, says it logged 560 events in 2015 in the state of Montana alone.Yes, the squirrel is a bigger threat to cybersecurity than hackers, and there’s data to back this up. According to the officials of Georgia Power (US), squirrels can cause up to $2 million dollars’ worth of damage yearly. To avoid these issues, one must take precautions.

Most electrical cables are jacketed or sheathed by several layers of electrically insulating materials such as lead, rubber, jute, cotton, tar asphalt, or various synthetic resins. A layer of steel or copper tape is often wrapped about the insulated cable to protect it from external damage, and finally, a water repellent layer or coating is added to prevent corrosion of the metal tape. Although the deterioration of electric cables is usually caused by mechanical, electrical and chemical forces, it can also occur in consequence of biological processes. On or more of the layers of protective or jacketing materials is often destroyed by microorganisms, marine invertebrates, insects, rodents, or other gnawing animals.

This Threat To America’s Energy Grid Is Driving Security Experts Nuts

Posted to Energy April 10th 2019 by Erin Mundahl

Last week, President Donald Trump released an executive order intended to protect the U.S. from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks against the electric grid. But there is another threat to the grid, one that is far more low-tech and far more common, than a smuggled EMP device:

Squirrels.

“I’m all for increasing grid resilience, but here’s a threat priority list: 1. Squirrels 2. Tree branches 3. Heat waves/hurricanes/other climate-amplified threats” joked Costa Samaras, an Adjunct Senior Researcher at the RAND Corporation in a tweet.

He may have been joking, but his math is dead on.  For a small mammal, squirrels cause a surprising amount of damage to the grid. In 2016 alone, utilities reported 3,456 outages caused by squirrels, cutting off power to more than 193,873 customers. These incidents are more common in the spring and fall but can happen throughout the year.

To try to stop the furry menaces and to keep equipment safe, utility companies employ a variety of deterrents like wheels, cages, and guards. Despite these efforts, squirrels are a constant operating hazard.

According to CyberSquirrel1, a website and Twitter feed that tracks “all unclassified Cyber Squirrel Operations that have been released to the public that we have been able to confirm,” squirrels have caused 1,254 outages since 2013. These include a fire department call for an “exploding squirrel” that caused a neighborhood in Massachusetts to lose power last month and 135 customers in New Hampshire who temporarily lost power because of a squirrel on March 12, 2019.

Squirrels are nature’s furry little terrorists

By Tim Grobaty in Commentary │November 20, 2018

When I read that a squirrel had caused a power outage in California Heights and Signal Hill last weekend, you could’ve knocked me over with a wrecking ball swinging from a crane.

The American Public Power Association is perhaps the nation’s No. 1 watchdog when it comes to POCBS. It maintains a data tracker called (why not?) “The Squirrel Index” that follows trends in squirrel-caused electrical calamities.

The association reports that in 2016 alone, utilities reported 3,456 outages caused by squirrels that cut off power to more than 193,873 customers. North Korean hackers drool at such numbers.

A 1989 University of Nebraska study noted that some of the POCBS incidents may be caused by squirrels hiding their food and noted that incidents of squirrel-related incidents occur in neighborhoods where there are more acorn-producing oak trees.

The damage caused by rodents proves to be very expensive for the plant and owner of the equipment.

So then what’s the solution? This question has been answered by C Tech Corporation’s RodrepelTM. It acts as an effective way to repel rodents, overcoming the limitations of the general rodenticides. The general properties of RodrepelTM are:

•     Low toxic

•     Low hazardous

•     Non volatile

•     Environmentally safe

RodrepelTM does not kill but only keeps the animal away by making use of the sensory mechanisms. The product functions from a distance generating a typical fear response in the animal. Thus, RodrepelTM actually helps in modifying animal behavior. Rodents being social animals also communicate the bad experience to their population in the vicinity.

The masterbatch of RodrepelTM can be incorporated into wires and cables.

The product in the form of liquid concentrate can be diluted in Paints and organic solvents and applied to cables. The lacquer which is a topical application can be directly applied to the already installed wires and cables.

Our newly developed product,  Rodrepel™ Rodent Repellent Spray is an easy to use product which can be sprayed on wires and cables, electronic appliances, cabinets, so as to as avoid the rodents from entering them.

RodrepelTM is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH, NEA, EU BPR, APVMA compliant and FIFRA exempted.

Contact us at technical.marketing@ctechcorporation.com if you’re facing problems with rodents and get best remedies to combat the rodent menace.

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