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Raccoon causes power outage

CODY (WNE) —A raccoon, not a storm, is to blame for Cody’s Aug. 24 power outage, the second time in two years that a raccoon has turned off the lights. The outage lasted for approximately two hours, from roughly midnight to 2 a.m.

According to Cody Public Works Director Phillip Bowman, a raccoon entered into the Glendale substation, causing equipment to short out and knocking out all of the circuits.

The substation serves three separate circuits in the vicinity of Cody and Markham reservoirs, Bowman said.

The raccoon died during the incident, and the circuit it damaged had to be rerouted to one of the city’s existing circuits.

“The city circuits are now feeding that [area] on a temporary basis and [the] Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) is starting to test and confirm the status of the equipment where the actual short was caused by the raccoon,” Bowman said. “So whether or not it’s still operable and meets all of the testing requirements, we don’t know yet.”

This is not the first time a raccoon has gotten into the Glendale substation and caused damage.

In April of 2021, a raccoon entered and caused damage to a separate circuit at the substation.

“All the substations are fenced around the perimeter, but it’s definitely a human fence,” Bowman said. “It’s there to prevent humans from entering it, but snakes, raccoons and birds can typically dig under and get through those fences.”

During the power outage, the city worked with WAPA, which owns the Glendale substation, to get the equipment fixed and the power back on.

“We assisted them with the necessary control checks to ensure the substation was safe to power up again,” Bowman said.

This story was published on August 31, 2022.