ASHLAND, Ky. (March 15, 2018) – About 1,000 Kentucky Power customers who lost power briefly on Thursday can blame a busy beaver for the disruption.
The beaver gnawed through a tree that then fell on a powerline near Pippa Passes in Knott County. Power was restored to affected customers within 34 minutes. The fallen tree tripped the circuit but did not cause damage so crews were able to restore service quickly.
Outages caused by animals happen. However, it is more common to see outages caused by snakes, birds and squirrels than beavers, said Mike Lasslo, Kentucky Power’s reliability manager.
“It’s a debate about how to categorize a beaver-caused outage. Is it animal, a tree cut by a non-Kentucky Power employee, vandalism, or tree out of right away”? Lasslo said. “It is not uncommon to have trees that fall on the lines because of beavers. More often than not we see trees that show evidence of beavers that are weakened and then the wind will blow them over onto the lines. It tends to go in waves. We seem to have more issues in the spring.”
Kentucky Power has taken proactive measures by placing animal guards atop transformers to protect the equipment and limit the outage of customers. The company also has placed animal guards behind the primary fencing at some substations to serve as deterrents. Little can be done to deter beavers.
Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan counties. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the AEP system, which serves about 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states.