Pacific Power has restored electricity to more than 1,400 homes and businesses in downtown Bend following an outage on Tuesday morning that lasted from 8:21 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Tom Gauntt, a spokesperson for Pacific Power, said a squirrel caused the outage, and its remains were found by work crews conducting repairs.
Squirrels, birds, rats and even snakes can get into equipment and cause damage or harm work crews, said Gauntt.
“All critters who get too close to equipment can essentially become a connection between two wires that are kept separate,” said Gauntt. “One claw on one wire and another claw or beak or mouth on another and the unlikely connection can be made.”
Gauntt said Pacific Power does take precautions against animals chewing on wires, such as installing special sleeves and clearing vegetation near powerlines, but animals can still infiltrate equipment.
“Squirrels are pervasive,” said Gauntt. “Our work with vegetation management helps keep them away from lines, but climbing a pole is nothing to a squirrel.”