This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Animals Kept Out, Power Kept On With Enhanced Control Measures At Consumers Energy Substations

JACKSON, Mich., Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Squirrels, raccoons and other curious animals will have a more difficult time getting into Consumers Energy's substations and disrupting power because of control measures being put in place throughout the state.

The utility has been installing animal control equipment for years, but now has more stringent standards in place to take a more proactive approach to work at new and existing substations.

"Our Promise to Michigan is to deliver the energy you need, whenever you need it. These new standards are helping keep the animals out and the lights on," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president of energy delivery.

Consumers Energy owns and operates more than 1,200 substations, fenced facilities where electric voltage is decreased for distribution to homes and businesses across Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The electrical wires leading to and from a substation, along with the warmth and vibration given off by the substation's equipment are often attractive to wildlife, especially squirrels and raccoons, company statistics show. During 2011 and 2012, 63 percent of the wildlife-related substation outages were caused by squirrels, 21 percent by raccoons and 16 percent by birds.

Substations are knocked out of service when an animal enters the substation and contacts energized equipment while also touching the ground or grounded electrical equipment. The animal is electrocuted and a resulting electrical "fault" disrupts power either momentarily or for longer periods, depending on the situation.

From January 2011 through Sept. 30 of this year, more than 30 percent of all substation outages were caused by wildlife, one of the largest known causes of substation outages. When partial or complete substation outages occur, hundreds or thousands of customers can lose power. A typical substation outage caused by an animal can last from two to three hours.

The company's standard addresses two main areas: Improving the barriers around the substation and reducing the opportunity for animals to contact energized equipment in the substations. Measures include:
  • Creating no more than 1 inch wide openings around the perimeter, such as replacing 2 inch wide mesh fencing with 1-inch mesh;
  • Placing at least 3 inches of gravel covering the bottom of the fence perimeter. At substations with a history of problems with burrowing animals such as raccoons, up to 2 feet of extra fence is buried below ground;
  • 3 feet of clear polycarbonate panels are attached to the fencing to keep animals from climbing over and into the substation;
  • Placing clear polycarbonate discs on electric lines leading into and out of the substations to prevent access;
  • Aluminum bands wrapped around wooden utility poles near the substation to deter animal climbing;
  • Creation of a minimum 10-foot area between perimeter fencing and any trees or brush;
  • Caps to cover energized equipment such as conductors and other parts.  

The improved animal control measures took effect in late 2012. Because work to design, engineer and construct substations often span several years, it's too early to determine the affect the policy changes are making. Ten to 15 new substations are built each year, with another 10 to 20 upgraded or modified. The new animal control standards have been applied to several existing substations during 2013.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.64 0.00%
FB $118.57 0.00%
GOOG $698.21 0.00%
TSLA $241.80 0.00%
YHOO $36.53 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,891.16 +117.52 0.66%
S&P 500 2,081.43 +16.13 0.78%
NASDAQ 4,817.5940 +42.2360 0.88%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs