Squirrel Knocks Out Power for Thousands in Austin

Squirrel Knocks Out Power for Thousands in AustinSource: Unsplash / Fré Sonneveld
Natalie Petrovich
Published on November 29, 2023

A single squirrel's brush with technology plunged nearly a thousand homes into darkness in northwest Austin. This unassuming rodent found its way onto a transformer pole and inadvertently knocked out power for residents, as detailed in a report by CBS Austin. The incident occurred promptly at around 10:30 a.m., and for the power-deprived customers, light and normalcy returned after a brief, but notably inconvenient, hour.

Despite Austin Energy's valiant efforts to shield the city's electric grid with various deterrents, the squirrels, it seems, are engaging in a high-stakes game of transformer tag. "Even with special animal guards on equipment, unfortunately, there is no absolute way to protect all electrical equipment from animal contact," Austin Energy conceded, according to CBS Austin.

A similar account by KXAN clarified the breadth of the blackout, indicating that the furry assailant left roughly 4,000 Austin Energy customers groping for their flashlights. Nibbling away at the city's electrical stability, the creature's brief encounter with the transformer pole highlights an ongoing and widespread skirmish between wildlife and technology. But the folks at Austin Energy aren't new to this rodeo—squirrels reportedly hold the dubious honor of being the "primary cause of non-storm related power outages in just about every part of the country."

Within the hour, after crews assessed and addressed the small mammal's big impact, the current flowed once more, officials told KXAN.