Rest in Peace, Cat That Broke Into US Substation and Blew Out Power to Thousands

By Tom McKay on at

A cat that broke into an electrical substation and unfortunately perished after coming into contact with high-voltage equipment was responsible for a power outage that affected some 7,500 Entergy customers in New Orleans in the US state of Louisiana on Monday morning, the Advocate wrote.

In a statement to the paper, Entergy wrote that the cat caused a “flash” (i.e., the very dangerous expulsion of large amounts of energy) after breaking into an electrical substation and making its way past “protective devices”:

... “It is unusual for a cat to get into a substation; generally, squirrels and other small animals find their way in,” the company said. “Entergy installs protective devices to help keep animals out of our equipment not only to avoid power outages, but also to keep animals out of harm’s way.

“Sometimes, however, they are able to make their way around the protective devices, and when this happens, the animals unfortunately do not survive contact with high-voltage equipment.”

Power was restored to most customers by around 10:00am local time, according to WDSU.

The Advocate wrote that Entergy has been subject to a number of bizarre power disruptions in the past few years, including two separate incidents earlier in 2018 involving mylar or “metallic” balloons hitting power lines and another outage involving a squirrel that met the same fate as the cat.

Though the cat in question may have unfortunately gone to Flash Heaven, it will have plenty of company there. As noted by Popular Mechanics, such incidents are not uncommon and have been caused by raccoons, rats, monkeys, an animal believed to be a weasel or marten that chewed through power lines at the Large Hadron Collider, and a chicken in Hawaii. These critters are survived by a flock of pigeons that short-circuited a Japanese substation in 2013 not by going out in a blaze of glory, but just pooping on the thing until it could take no more. [The Advocate]