Pesky squirrels can cause power outages

With longer, warmer days here, birds are chirping and there are plenty of squirrels running around.

With a substantial supply of acorns in Fairfield County, the squirrel population is thriving, and while they may be cute to watch scurrying up trees, it could also mean trouble for power lines.

Squirrels can cause a lot of power outages. Raccoons and skunks are culprits, too. Animal-related outages typically spike in May, June and July. The recent, abundant squirrel population in New England has only added to the issue.

Last June, Eversource power company had 430 animal-related outages, the highest monthly number all year, compared to the lowest — 99 animal-related outages in December.

So, how can a little squirrel leave hundreds of thousands of people in the dark? Either by chewing through electrical equipment or coming in contact with electricity.

To prevent animal-related outages, Eversource has installed more than 100,000 animal guards on the electric system throughout Connecticut over the last several years.

Where they’ve installed the guards, the number of animal-related outages has decreased. Eversource regularly patrols the grid to identify locations in order to improve existing animal protection or add more, and it says it’s planning to install thousands more this year.