Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 9:39 AM
By: Deanna Bettineschi, ActionNewsJax.com
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida's Jacksonville Electric Authority is working on changes to keep critters from knocking out residents' power.
A snake is being blamed for a major outage in Orange Park that left 22,000 customers in the dark.
JEA officials said the snake came into contact with a high voltage circuit breaker.
A wildlife trapper said it was a red rat snake.
“This time of year the snakes are really bad,” neighbor Cynthia Surrency said.
This is not the first time a snake has caused an outage.
In July 2014, a snake got into a transformer and caused a brief power outage at the St Johns Town Center.
Then in September 2015, a snake crawled into a transformer in Clay Electric’s Double Branch substation and caused an outage that left 5,000 customers in the dark for an hour.
Two weeks later, another snake caused a power outage that affected thousands of customers in the northern part of Clay County.
Action News Jax asked JEA if anything is being done to prevent this from happening again.
Officials said animal guards and fiberglass brackets are being installed on distribution lines to help prevent contact between animals and energized equipment.
They also say the company is also working to prevent bird nests in substations because eggs attract hungry snakes.
JEA said on average, animals cause one outage once every two or three years inside a substation.