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Timber! Tree felled by a beaver cuts power to utility customers

A beaver gnawed down a tree that fell onto a power line, knocking out electricity to 1,000 Kentucky Power customers.
A beaver gnawed down a tree that fell onto a power line, knocking out electricity to 1,000 Kentucky Power customers.

About 1,000 Kentucky Power customers lost electricity briefly on Thursday after a beaver gnawed through a tree that fell on a utility line.

The tree fell on a line near Pippa Passes in Knott County, the utility company said in a press release. Power was restored to affected customers within 34 minutes.

The fallen tree tripped the circuit but did not cause damage so crews were able to restore service quickly, Kentucky Power said.

Outages caused by animals happen but it is more common to see outages caused by snakes, birds and squirrels than beavers, said Mike Lasslo, Kentucky Power’s reliability manager.

“It is not uncommon to have trees that fall on the lines because of beavers,” Lasslo said. “More often than not we see trees that show evidence of beavers that are weakened and then the wind will blow them over onto the lines. It tends to go in waves. We seem to have more issues in the spring.”

Kentucky Power has taken proactive measures by placing animal guards atop transformers to protect the equipment and limit outages. The company also has placed animal guards behind fencing at some substations to serve as deterrents.

Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides electric service to about 168,000 customers in Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan counties.

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