SaskPower adding squirrel-savers to transformers

SaskPower says it's taking steps to cut down on the number of power outages caused by animals — and it'll be saving some squirrels in the process.

Squirrels, other animals often a source of power outages

Regina is full of squirrels, but sometimes they meet at untimely end scampering around SaskPower electrical equipment. The company is trying to reduce the frequency of those incidents. (Kevin O'Connor/CBC)

SaskPower says it's taking steps to cut down on the number of power outages caused by animals — and it'll be saving some squirrels in the process.

The company will be installing what it calls "wildlife protection" devices on a number of poles in Regina.

It's basically adding rubber caps to exposed metal on transformers, company spokeswoman Heather Johnson said.

"If there's a squirrel and he's jumping back and forth between [bare] metal and the pole, it could cause a short circuit," she said. "This stops the animal from becoming an electrical conductor."

Squirrels and other animals that cause power outages are getting some attention from SaskPower. ((Submitted by Ken Lewis))

To do the retrofits, officials say they will have to turn off the power to groups of about 15 to 30 homes at a time, for an hour or two.

Homeowners will get a written notice the day before the work is done.

The work is slated to begin in Regina tomorrow morning, with power outages in certain blocks of Elphinstone, Montague and Athol streets.

In the afternoon, the same thing will happen on Garnet, Cameron and Angus streets as well as Leopold Crescent.

The entire animal protection program in the Regina area will cost about $1 million, Johnson said. 

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