Squirrel knocks out power to 2,500 Alliant Energy customers in Albert Lea

Published 3:43 pm Monday, March 16, 2015

About 2,500 Alliant Energy customers were without power this morning after a squirrel reportedly jumped into a company substation off of Bridge Avenue.

Alliant Energy spokesman Justin Foss said the squirrel caused a fuse at the substation, at 1824 Bridge Ave., to blow at about 10:10 a.m., which led to a loud noise similar to an explosion.

Power was restored about an hour later.

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The outage affected a large area including streets of Lakewood Avenue, Fairview Drive, Richway Drive and Pillsbury Avenue, among several others.

Albert Lea police and fire departments responded, and police directed traffic at multiple Bridge Avenue intersections while the power was down.

Foss said Alliant Energy has installed a lot of animal protection over the years to reduce the number of outages from squirrels and other animals. Unfortunately, animals still sometimes find their way around the guards. The company will reinstall the animal guards at this substation in the future.