NEWS RELEASE: Five Worst Outages of 2018




(YORK, Pa) — Each year, TransGard tracks hundreds of substation outages caused by climbing animals — squirrels, snakes, raccoons and others — to compile our list of the Five Worst.

TransGard, which manufactures and installs patented fence that now protects more than 3,000 substations, uncovered a disturbing trend. This year, substation operators experienced multiple outages in the same narrow region – even in the exact same substations. It was a powerful reminder that climbing animals are creatures of instinct:  if one will seek out food or warmth, others will follow.

Here is TransGard’s list of the Five Worst Outages for 2018 — each involving costly repairs and damaged reputations for utilities and substation operators. Take note of how many have experienced these recurring — and preventable — incursions:

  1. I’M GOING TO BE A LITTLE LATE …      This April, in West Knoxville, Tennessee, a raccoon climbed into a substation and knocked out power to more than 40,000 residents at 4:30 a.m. on a workday. Several years earlier, a squirrel intrusion shut off power at that same substation, leading to several car accidents.
  2. SCHOOL’S OUT     More than 5,000 residents of Columbiana County, Ohio, were without power when a squirrel damaged a transformer in October. Kent State University canceled classes after the outage left the campus in the dark.
  3. THIRD TIME’S A PAIN     In November — for the third time in a month — a squirrel disrupted the power grid serving Roanoke, Virginia. The final outage, a substation incursion, knocked out service for several hours to businesses including The Roanoke Times, the federal courthouse, the public library, Roanoke Community Hospital … and the offices of the utility itself.
  4. HELLO KITTY      Curiosity — and thousands of volts of electricity — killed a cat that climbed into a substation serving the city of New Orleans. More than 7,500 residents and businesses of the Crescent City lost power during the September outage.  Just a few years prior, a squirrel entered a substation and sparked an outage for more than 3,000 customers in neighboring East Carrollton, Louisiana.
  5. TWO SQUIRRELS, ONE WEEK     Meanwhile across the state, squirrels knocked out power twice in one July week to the same substation in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  More than 2,700 residents in the towns of Baker and Zachary were affected.

BONUS OUTAGE:  SERIOUS DAMAGE IN CANADA    A squirrel entered a circuit breaker box at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec, and caused a power outage that damaged the facility’s computer network. The intrusion severely damaged the motherboards for six servers, three switches and three load balancers, and caused multiple storage failures at the Center.

This list represents a fraction of all animal-caused outages, many unreported, at substations in every region and climate of the U.S. While some substation operators take steps to prevent animal incursions, thousands of at-risk substations remain unprotected.

For information on TransGard’s patented fencing and how it eliminates outages caused by climbing animals, visit

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TransGard, based in York, Pennsylvania, delivers patented fencing exclusively engineered to eliminate substation outages caused by climbing animals. TransGard has installed fences at more than 3,000 substations in the U.S. and Canada. For more information or to view case studies, visit

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