What do birds, squirrels and power outages have in common? You might initially think nothing. Unfortunately, animals are one of the top causes of power outages. To ensure safe, reliable power delivery, and protect wildlife, Victory Electric has gone to great lengths to keep animals away from electricity and to improve reliability for members. At the same time, Victory Electric has a policy to attempt to prevent electrocutions for all wildlife species including birds of prey, whooping cranes, raccoons, squirrels, snakes, and many small bird species with the goal of protecting valuable wildlife resources and improving electric system reliability.
A variety of birds use utility structures without consequence, however, large birds such as owls, hawks and whooping cranes are at greater risk of electrocution on utility structures. Electrocuted birds may interrupt electric service, start fires, and cause significant equipment damage. In addition, most birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making it illegal to “take” these protected species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has encouraged individual electric utilities to develop Avian Protection Plans (APP) to monitor electrocutions and collisions and manage them to prevent future incidence.
Victory Electric developed an APP and we are committed to the protection of migratory birds. This includes balancing the goal of providing reliable electric service in a cost effective manner with the regulatory requirements protecting avian species, as well as the need to obtain and comply with all necessary permits, monitor incidents of avian mortality, and make reasonable efforts to construct and alter infrastructure to reduce the incidence of avian mortality.
It’s not easy to stay a step ahead of the birds. Victory Electric installs bird flight diverters as well as raptor deterrent triangles help deter raptors from landing on cross-arms. The deterrent triangles could help prevent raptor electrocutions on cluttered structures that would be otherwise difficult to cover up. Birds do not always sit on the highest point on a structure; they often sit on a lower point and use the structure for shade on hot summer days.
Protecting squirrels from electrocution may seem of minor significance, however many of our members feed these small animals and consider them personal friends in their backyard. As a matter of public relations, preventing the death of these friendly little backyard visitors is very significant.
Underground electric lines are often damaged by gnawing rodents such as gophers. In areas known to be inhabited by gophers, all underground electric lines are installed in conduit to prevent such damage.