Squirrel causes blackout in upstate NY

A squirrel-related blackout is unlikely to happen here, Con Ed says. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Just when you thought all squirrels did was chomp on unsuspecting children in Stuyvesant Town and damage trees with their incessant gnawing, they’ve also begun causing massive power outages.

According to a story in the Daily News, officials upstate discovered that a pesky squirrel caused a string of power outages that left more than 10,000 in the dark last weekend.

“The rodent somehow managed to make its way into a substation in Lancaster, a Buffalo suburb, Sunday, knocking out three substations, New York State Electric and Gas said,” the News wrote. Fortunately, for the residents in the area, power was restored three hours later.

But with the threat of more extreme wintry weather ahead this weekend, Town & Village turned to Con Ed to ask about the possibility of such a thing occurring in a certain Manhattan neighborhood that has not only a power plant but an abundance of Eastern Greys scurrying about.

In response, Allan Drury, a spokesperson for the utility, said the odds of a squirrel-related blackout in the city are actually pretty slim.

“Squirrels usually do their damage in areas where the electrical delivery systems in overhead,” said Drury. “They get into the overhead transformers or make contact with other equipment and cause a problem for the system – not mention for the critter. Sometimes they bite through insulation and get zapped. In Manhattan, the electrical delivery system is all underground. It’s possible for a squirrel to get into a substation in Manhattan and cause havoc but I don’t recall hearing of any significant outages due to that.”

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2 thoughts on “Squirrel causes blackout in upstate NY

  1. I’ll bet that’s the dumbest inquiry Mr. Drury has ever fielded. Electrical and phone lines in Manhattan have been buried underground since the 1880’s.

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