Snakes Cause 'Unprecedented' Power Outages in Tenn. by Repeatedly Sneaking into a Substation

The meddling snakes have caused four power outages around Franklin, Tennessee, in the month of May

<p>Getty</p> A stock photo of a rat snake


A stock photo of a rat snake

Curious reptiles are wreaking havoc near Nashville.

Throughout May 2024, snakes finding their way into the Henpeck substation in Franklin, Tennessee, have caused multiple power outages, according to The Rock Hill Herald, ABC-affiliate WKRN, and NewsChannel5.

Four snake-induced power outages have been reported in the area throughout May.

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According to WKRN, Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) emailed customers on May 17 to explain the situation, which the utility company called "unprecedented."

MTE communications and marketing director Larry Rose told McClatchy News that the situation is "very unusual" because of the advanced equipment used by the substation to deter animal interference, per The Herald.

In a separate interview with WKRN, Rose further explained the rarity of the situation, saying, "One of the managers I have talked to said he has been on the job for 20 years and probably had two [snakes] that he can remember, and we've had four in eight days."

<p>Getty</p> A stock photo of a rat snake


A stock photo of a rat snake

The sneaky snakes – mostly identified as gray rat snakes – finding their way into the substation are causing the outages by coming into contact with the substation's powered equipment, which causes the equipment to short out – similar to a "home's breaker box," Rose noted to McClatchy News.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency states that gray rat snakes are "one of the most abundant snakes in the state" and are often found around homes. These non-venomous snakes are typically large, between 42 and 73 inches in length, and are expert climbers.

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Earlier this week, Rose told WKRN that the electric company is working on a solution for the current snake issue and has tried three different snake repellants to no avail. He also stated that the company has "wildlife guards" on the power lines to prevent birds and other animals from reaching them, but the snakes have gotten past them.

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NewChannel5 reported that MTE is looking to "install new and improved" guards at the substation during an upcoming planned outage to "prevent further incidents."

The electric company's website states that MTE is the "largest electric cooperative" in the Tennessee Valley Authority region, covering Tennessee and areas of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

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