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MILD 2022 WINTER INCREASES THREAT TO NORTH AMERICAN SUBSTATIONS

HOW WARM TEMPERATURES LEAD TO A SPIKE IN ANIMAL INCURSIONS

This winter, we’ve had it easy. In fact, the vast majority of states experienced a warmer-than-normal winter, according to a recent analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But the warm winter could lead to huge headaches for utilities and other power providers, according to the research team at TransGard. TransGard is a leading provider of animal-deterrent equipment — including the TransGard fence, and the new Laser Bird Defense system — that currently safeguards more than 3,500 North American substations.

The above-average temperatures across the U.S. could create a population explosion among squirrels and other species — increases that could mean trouble for unprotected substations. Here are key facts from researchers about species that have historically caused most outages: 

  • SQUIRRELS Gray squirrels give birth to litters during March. With more squirrels surviving through our balmy winter, substations will have to fend off more squirrels … thousands of them.
  • BIRDS Warmer winters change migratory and breeding patterns among many species of birds, putting substations at risk for roosting populations that can cause damage and outages.
  • SNAKES Scientists note that the unusually warm winter disrupts the natural hibernation and reproduction of snakes — leading to an increased threat for substation incursions.

“Warm weather is spurring animals to leave their winter shelter much sooner than usual in search of food,” says Bill Reichard, TransGard’s president. ”Historically, warmer temperatures can mean spring substation outages will start earlier and occur more frequently.”

The problems are already starting for substations in various parts of the U.S. Operators in Louisiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and elsewhere have already reported animal-related outages.

 

Substation operators who have experienced problems with animal-caused outages should consider mitigation strategies for the remainder of 2022. Even substations that have no history of animal incursion may be at risk due to shifting animal populations.

TransGard offers a complimentary Site Audit that reveals areas of concern for substation operators seeking to avoid animal incursions.  To arrange an audit, or learn about TransGard’s patented fencing and Laser Bird Defense, learn more about it here.

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