The U.S. Department of Energy statistics indicate that the American economy suffers some $150 million worth of loss each year due to unexpected outages and other disruptions to electrical supply. An industry organization, EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) in the late 1990s suggested that a distinct proportion of these problems (estimated at 12 percent) result from interaction of wildlife with energized lines and equipment. If factored in, the “source unknown” outages (some two-thirds of which are thought to be wildlife related) these animal impacted events probably cost between $20 to $30 billion dollars annually. Not only does it cost money to repair the equipment, but revenue is also lost until service can be restored. This can ultimately reduce consumer confidence.
In one year, the State of Mississippi documented more than 1100 wildlife caused outages resulting in 565,000 customer’s minutes of interrupted service.
The IEEE 1264 Guide for Animal Mitigation in Substations survey lists the cause of animal induced outages as reported by utilities as follows:
|Animal Type||Utilities reporting this animal|
Furthermore, geographic locations pose additional challenges. Squirrels were the worst overall offenders; birds were a greater problem in farmland areas. Raccoons were identified in the cooler northern and Midwestern climates. Snake problems were reported by utilities from the southwest and southeast. To complicate the situation even further, activity varies by the season of the year.
For a more comprehensive review, the IEEE 1264 link is below:
Many substations are unprotected. An outage is waiting to happen. It is essential to protect substations:
- To gain reliability, thus justifying rate increases.
- To gain reliability to prevent large customers from selecting another electric supplier in the free market change from the past monopoly market.
- To avoid potential and costly lawsuits should protected species be electrocuted. One western electric utility pleaded guilty to illegally killing golden eagles and other migratory birds. The utility was ordered to invest over $10 million in system upgrades
- To avoid costly damage to equipment
Utilities are working to improve their systems by using a wide variety of techniques to reduce wildlife damage to substations, such as chemical repellents, fence barriers, lights, decoys, line guards, and electric fences. However, none of these methods have been particularly successful.
That is where Structure Guard comes in… our techniques have been totally successful providing effective solutions in every application. Structure Guard is an environmentally/people safe product that is custom formed and wraps around the base of electrical structures, providing protection from the ground up. To date, there have been NO animal-caused outages in substations where Structure Guard has been installed.
For more information on our patented innovative product, please visit our Structure Guard page.