APS: 4,000 customers lose power after squirrel gets into Phoenix substation

PHOENIX - Around 9 a.m. Friday morning, it was eerily quiet in one north Phoenix neighborhood; there was no TV, no radio, and no air conditioners humming.

"All of a sudden, the A/C went out, and we had just gotten it replaced, and I was walking around and noticed everything was out," Wendy Dickon said.

For about an hour, around 4,000 customers' homes were in dark. The power was cut from the substation near Loop 101 and Cave Creek Road.

"Everything went off, computer went off, everything went off," R. E. Brown said.

Even though there were storms in the area, this outage wasn't storm-related.

It turns out an unauthorized intruder caused a pretty big problem.

"It doesn't happen a whole bunch, but every now and then it does occur and we take care of it as soon as we can," Arizona Public Service spokesperson Steven Gotfried said.

APS officials say a squirrel got into the substation and tripped some of the sensors, causing the outgoing current to be cut.

"We do a real good job of keeping the majority of the animals out, and every once in a while, they do get in and we take care of it to get our customers back on as quickly and as safely as possible," Gotfried said.

Customers were surprised that such a small animal could cause the large problem.

"How does a squirrel get in there? Weird," Dickson said.

Power was restored to the area a short time later Friday morning.

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