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Downtown outages caused by “bird interference”

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Downtown outages caused by "bird interference"

Our feathered friends are to blame for the two outages downtown Fort McMurray experienced in the past week.

ATCO Electric District Manager Sandy Love told Mix News that both outages, the latest on Wednesday, were caused by birds interfering with their power supply infrastructure along Highway 63.

“We haven’t typically had an issue with birds or wildlife interfering with this particular area,” she said. “Now we’re looking at if we need to put in some bird mitigation.”

Love explained that while birds usually are able to traverse electrical wires without issue, when they come in contact with a power pole on take-off can cause a problem. The physical contact creates a path for the electricity to the ground through the bird, and the path change can disrupt the power system.

ATCO normally employs bird and wildlife deterrents in areas with high risk.

Wednesday’s power outage affected businesses and homes from Hospital Street to MacDonald Island Park, including Peter Pond Mall and Tim Horton’s.

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