Hydro One blames birds for power disruptions

Hydro One is blaming birds for power interruptions in the McGregor area.
Hydro One is blaming birds for weeks of power interruptions in the McGregor area. (AP Photos/Michael Sullivan)

Hydro One is blaming migrating birds for weeks of power interruptions in the McGregor area.

The utility said 2,400 customers experienced power flickers of 10 seconds in the past week.

"We have some small black birds that have decided to take a break on their migration down south on some of the lines in the area," said Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa. "That's what we call animal contact and it seems to be creating these flickers that our customers are experiencing."

She said it's very easy for a bird to cause the power to flicker.

"All it takes is for [a bird] to touch a piece of equipment and then touch another bird and they essentially conduct electricity through themselves," said Baccega Rosa.

But Tim Laughlin is a small business owner who is not convinced about birds as an explanation for the source of the problem.

"There's been birds migrating all across Ontario for years and I've never heard of that problem," said Laughlin. "I think it's a little bit lame."

Baccega Rosa said records show that these same problems existed around this time last year.

Laughlin depends on the internet for his business.

He's frustrated because the interruptions are costing him time and money.

"Basically it causes my computer to shut down and I'm losing data that I've entered into my computer system," said Laughlin.

Some residents told CBC News hydro problems have been happening for months in the McGregor and Amherstburg areas.

"We are looking at ways to mitigate and reduce the impact to our customers," said Baccega Rosa. "Crews have been increasing line patrols in the area."