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One Squirrel Caused Over 5,500 Customers To Lose Power In Overton

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
One Squirrel Caused Over 5,500 Customers To Lose Power In Overton

A single squirrel caused over 5,500 Overton County residents to be without power Thursday morning.

UCEMC Livingston District Manager Ben Winningham said the unlikely event happened at the Celina Highway Substation at 6:30 a.m.

“One squirrel,” Winningham said. “He just slithered through the gate, got to climbing around on the TVA switch gear and had a foot on one spot and a hand on the other spot and bam. He caused the entire outage.”

Winningham said customers across Allons, Monroe and Livingston were all without power for about an hour.

“This is just kind of a freak thing,” Winningham said. “There are no trees inside of our substation. No feed for any animals whatsoever, so he was just out on a morning stroll on the wrong side of the fence.”

Winningham said his team narrowed down the outage to within the substation in a matter of minutes based on outage reports throughout the county. Winningham said the outage was on the TVA side of the substation.

“We’re not allowed to operate any equipment on TVA’s side, so we had to get them on board and get their guys here to clear their part out,” Winningham said. “Then, we could move forward with turning our customers back on.”

Winningham said the majority of main stop lights, several businesses and even the Livingston Regional Hospital were without power. Winningham said local authorities helped keep the situation from being dangerous.

“We had a lot of help from the Livingston Police Department,” Winningham said. “As soon as they came on board, they went to several main traffic lights and helped control traffic.”

Some lasting electrical issues also occurred at A.H Roberts Elementary School causing the school to close for the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, the squirrel did not survive.


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