ST. GEORGE – A power outage interrupted service in some areas of St. George and Santa Clara early Thursday morning after wildlife caused a circuit to open at the Sunset Boulevard Substation.
The power went out around 4 a.m. for approximately 7,800 customers, most of whom reside in the Santa Clara area, Marc Mortensen, assistant to the St. George City manager, said.
However, reports of interrupted power also came in from the areas of downtown St. George, Dixie Downs and the east side of St. George near Red Cliffs Mall.
The power was reportedly out for approximately 45 minutes, Mortensen said, and was restored around 4:45 a.m.
Mortensen said some type of wildlife, most likely a bird or a fox, somehow managed to get into a transformer at the substation and opened up the circuit.
This is not the first time a sneaky animal has been the cause of a St. George power outage.
In October 2014, a stealthy fox crawled into the Green Valley substation and damaged a 138 KV breaker causing an outage; power had to be rerouted to customers on the west side using an alternate line. The sly fox perished from the electric shock.
One month later, a similar power outage affected the same areas of St. George, and it was discovered in that instance that another little critter struck at the Green Valley substation. A fox got inside a transformer cabinet, trying to find a warm spot to get away from the cold; the fox was electrocuted.
After those two incidents, three humane traps were set to keep the foxes away from the transformer, and, Mortensen said in a November 2014 interview, the city ordered special equipment – a custom-made attachment to seal the cabinet door and keep wildlife out.
He said the opening in the cabinet that the foxes get through is so small it would seem impossible for them to get inside, but they do.
Both the City of St. George and Santa Clara City are members of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems. The Sunset Boulevard Substation is common to both cities, and maintained by the City of St. George.
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