January 3, 2017 10:27AM
By Matthew Zabierek, Record-Journal staff
WALLINGFORD — A squirrel that chewed wiring on an electric line caused about 100 households to lose power for 30 minutes Monday morning.
Electric Division systems operator Bob Boehler said the outage occurred from about 9 to 9:30 a.m. in the area of Grieb Road and East Main Street. Homes on Timber Lane and Rolling Meadow Drive were also affected, he said.
Boehler said the squirrel chewed through a power line, causing the temporary power loss. Electric Division crews responded quickly and restored power.
“It pretty much blew the squirrel to smithereens,” he said.
Squirrels and other rodents often chew on wiring to strengthen and sharpen teeth, as well as to control the length of teeth, according to Squirrels in the Attic, a website that provides advice for removing squirrels from a home attic.
“Squirrels, like many rodents, have a hard time controlling the length of their teeth and the speed at which the teeth grow,” the website says.
Squirrels have long been notorious for causing outages in Connecticut.
In 1987, a squirrel shut down the Nasdaq stock exchange’s automatic quotation service for 82 minutes after it touched a power line in Trumbull, where Nasdaq’s main computer center was situated, The New York Times reported.
A Nasdaq official estimated that the power failure might have kept slightly more than 20 million shares from being traded, the Times reported.
The Washington Post reports that squirrels cause between 10 and 20 percent of power outages nationally.
Boehler said the electric division sees power loss caused by squirrels, as well as birds, up to twice a week. He said these outages commonly happen in the morning, when animals tend to be more active.