JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan utility says it's taking new steps to keep the power on by keeping squirrels, raccoons and other animals out of its substations.
Consumers Energy owns and operates more than 1,200 substations across Michigan's Lower Peninsula. It has had animal control equipment at the facilities for years, but says it now has more stringent standards in place and is stepping up efforts.
At substations, electric voltage is decreased for distribution to homes and businesses. They can be knocked out of service when an animal enters a substation and contacts energized equipment while also touching the ground or grounded electrical equipment.
Since January 2011, the unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. says more than 30 percent of substation outages were caused by wildlife.