Rodent causes partial blackout of downtown Houston

Dec 27, 2012 Comments Off on Rodent causes partial blackout of downtown Houston

Rodents are noticed through-out Dallas and Fort Worth in homes and commercial buildings. They are constant chewers and many times cause damage. A portion of Houston experienced a bit of rodent damage from this type of chewing. The cold blast had also cause rats and mice to seek warmer living areas. Many times this is in your attic or home in Dallas or Tarrant county.

By Carol Christian | December 27, 2012 | Updated: December 27, 2012 8:53am

Presumably the critter in question was not a terrorist, but a power outage that put a major crimp in a section of downtown Thursday morning was attributed to a small animal.

“We had a rodent incident,” CenterPoint Energy spokeswoman Olivia Ross said.

The rat, or other unidentified rodent, somehow got into an underground substation that serves north and northwest downtown, Ross said.

The power outage, which lasted from about 4:35 a.m. to 7:05 a.m., affected 15 to 20 buildings, including the Houston Chronicle’s headquarters at 801 Texas Ave. The affected area was a block bounded by Preston on the north, Austin on the east, Walker on the south and Smith on the west, Ross said.

While the image of a small animal stopping a stream of international commerce in its tracks is mind-boggling, it happens from time to time.

“We have barriers, but sometimes they just get in,” Ross said.

In June 2007, a raccoon, perhaps tempted by a nest of bird eggs, lost its life when it climbed into CenterPoint’s Gable Street substation.

That outage affected about 1,500 customers for two hours, CenterPoint said at the time.

In the 2007 incident, CenterPoint said it had installed various deterrents, including high-frequency emitters near substations and some transformers to scare birds. These measures had helped reduce animal-caused outages by 75 percent in the previous 12 years, the company said.

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