Electrical utility Unitil is holding “Squirrel Week.” This is the third year that Unitil has dedicated a week in May toward highlighting the challenges posed by squirrels and other wildlife. Unitil will focus on squirrel-related issues and the efforts the company makes to prevent interference with electrical lines and other equipment and keep wildlife safe when they’re the most active.

I wrote about this issue back in 2015: When it’s animals vs. powerlines, animals lose but so do the powerlines.

From Unitil: According to Unitil data, 11 percent of power outages within the utility’s service territory are related specifically to squirrels, with peak activity typically occurring in the springtime. Animal contact as a whole account for approximately 14 percent of all system outages

Outages can be caused by squirrel activity via gnawing on lines, building nests on equipment, and sneaking into unwanted areas. When they interfere with electric lines and equipment, squirrels can cause damage and disrupt power. They can also be harmed or even killed.

“We’ve found our ‘Squirrel Week’ initiative to be a very effective way to bring attention to an issue that customers and the general public probably don’t think about very often,” said Unitil External Affairs Director Alec O’Meara. “We’re all well aware of the threat that bad weather poses to power lines and other electrical equipment, but the reality is that despite steps we’ve taken to add animal guards and other protective equipment in an effort to keep our wildlife safe and prevent damage to infrastructure, some animals are still able to sneak around these safeguards and cause damage.”

As part of the campaign, Unitil will donate $500 to a number of wildlife conservation organizations:

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