Surprising Source Leaves 4,000 Minnesota Homes Without Power

By Taylor Linzinmeir

June 6, 2022

Angry homeowner using candles during power outage
Photo: Getty Images

Almost 4,000 homes in Minnesota were without power on Sunday (June 5) morning due to a surprising source.

According to Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, 3,997 homes in Lake Prior lost power at about 7 a.m. on Sunday when a squirrel came into contact with the substation equipment. It's not exactly clear how the squirrel caused the damage. It could have come into contact with a live wire or chewed through a power line. But luckily, crews did some power switching and power was restored at about 8:03 a.m. the same morning.

In reality, a squirrel causing a power outage isn't actually all that uncommon. They love to chew on things like wood, metal, plastic and wires to keep their teeth, which never stop growing, from growing too long. In fact, Energy Newsroom calls the animal the “King of the Power Outage” because they caused more than 15,000 animal-related outages in 2019. Here's what they had to say about it:

Ultimately, they scampered into places they just don’t belong. But why? Squirrels have taken down the power grid far more times than hackers. Do they have a secret plan? Or just an amateur interest in electrical engineering? 

But it isn't just squirrels. Raccoons, rats, mice — even bird poop has been known to knock out power across the globe.

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