Wild animals cause many of the everyday power outages - WSMV Channel 4

Wild animals cause many of the everyday power outages

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

When the skies turn ugly, we know that sometimes we could lose our power. After all, the big blackouts usually come after a big storm.

But one of the biggest causes of power outages in Middle Tennessee is the wild animal population. An outage affecting thousands of people last week in Bellevue was sparked by a snake.

Squirrels caused back-to-back outages in Brentwood in April.

Last year alone, Nashville Electric Service reported about 1,200 animal-related power outages and Middle Tennessee Electric reported more than 1,100 others.

It happens when an animal touches two different electric sources, causing an arc and then an outage.

In May, a possum perpetrated 8,000 outages in Goodlettsville; a turkey tripped 446 customers in Whites Creek; a second possum popped 29 people on Murfreesboro Road; a raccoon co-opted 3,400 customers in west Nashville; and a snake bit 3,100 homes in Bellevue.

"How they get in to these areas is unknown. Sometimes they'll find their way into the smallest openings, sometimes they climb. Turkeys just fly in. Deer get in. Animals are incredible, and how they get into places is beyond me," said Josh Clendenen, with Middle Tennessee Electric.

Middle Tennessee Electric has actually put up fake predators and uses fake predatory sounds at some of its substations, but even that doesn't always keep the birds and other animals out.

Some of the substations also have plastic coating. It doesn't eliminate the outages but reduces the damage done.

Many of the outages are just a flicker, which explains why your power might go out for a second on a perfectly calm day.

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