Rocky Mountain Power crew members inspect damage to the substation.
A lone squirrel single-handedly paralyzed Wellington Monday by knocking out power across town. The sabotage to the main substation between Price and Wellington was fatal. There was not much of the squirrel left to identify.
According to Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Margaret Oler, the critter apparently scampered where it shouldn't have on high-voltage equipment. That created a short circuit across 46,000 volts which blew out fuses and knocked out a regulator bank and voltage regulator, cutting off power. Of course, the survival rate for squirrels in this situation is zero.
About 2,250 customers were out of power for hours until Rocky Mountain Power could repair the damages.
The substation is protected by a chain link fence to protect people, large animals and photographers from all those kilovolts, but it proved to be no obstacle for the inherent climbing ability of the squirrel.
While the fatality in this case was only a small animal, Ms. Oler said it serves as an example of why said the utility is constantly warning people to use extreme caution around electricity, and in particular to stay out of fenced and posted property.