Snake slithers into substation, knocks out power to 22,000

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 17:27:00-04

JACKSONVILLE, FL (WFOX/WJAX/CNN) - Thousands of people were left without power because of one snake. Officials in Jacksonville say the snake came into contact with a circuit breaker.

It is not the first time an animal has knocked out power. At least three other incidents have taken place in the last few years. This time, the snake slithered through gates at the substation in Orange Park and then made it into the middle of the substation before getting electrocuted.

The snake knocked out power at one point to more than 22,000 customers in Orange Park early Wednesday morning. Surveillance video captured the moment the snake came into contact with a high voltage circuit breaker.

"Besides this time of year the snakes are really bad,” a woman said. 

And this is also not the first time a snake has caused the electricity to go out. In July 2014, a snake got into a transformer causing a brief power outage at the St. Johns Town Center. 

Then in September of 2015, a snake crawled into a transformer in Clay Electric's Double Branch Substation causing an outage that left 5,000 customers in the dark for an hour.

And two weeks after that, another snake caused a power outage once again affecting thousands of customers in the northern part of Clay County. "Cover the cracks so that snakes can't get under," a woman said.

Is anything being done to prevent this from happening again? Officials say animal guards and fiberglass brackets are being installed on distribution lines. They also say they're working to prevent bird's nests in substations, because birds lay eggs which attract snakes looking for food.

Officials say on average that animals cause an outage every two or three years at substations.

Copyright 2017 WFOX/WJAX  via CNN. All rights reserved.