St. George residents lose power after fox gets into substation

Posted at 10:30 PM, Oct 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-07 09:15:58-04

ST GEORGE, Utah -- A fox is to blame for a power outage Sunday night that left close to 8,000 homes in the dark.

The blackout only lasted about an hour, but it came sudden and was widespread. Utility directors say the fox entered the Green Valley substation just before 10 p.m., and it was the last thing he did.

“He found his way into a substation and caused a reclosure to fault,” said St George City energy conservation coordinator Renee Fleming. “So on-call crews responded.”

Linemen had power restored by 10:45 p.m., thanks to redundancies in the system that allowed power to be routed around the substation. City officials say it’s not uncommon for wildlife to make their way into a power substation. They say it happens about once a year.

“It’s kind of tough, you can’t predict it,” Fleming said. “We try our best to keep them fenced out. But sometimes they still find a way in.”

Fleming said the moral of the story is to stay out of the substations and heed the warning signs. Residents we spoke with were sad to learn the power outage was caused by a rouge fox.

“I feel so bad for the poor fox,” said St. George resident Taralee Gurr. “I guess it’s happened before, so they just need to de-fox the substation?”

Linemen monitored the system Monday, but didn’t report any additional problems.