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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Squirrel sparks city power cuts
Grey squirrel (generic)
The squirrel would have touched two conductors simultaneously
A squirrel caused a power cut to more than 10,000 homes in Devon after mistaking a wooden electricity post for a tree.

Western Power Distribution said homes were cut off on Sunday when the animal ran to the top of the cable-carrying post and "got a nasty shock".

Power was cut to more than 10,380 properties in the Marsh Barton and St Thomas areas of Exeter.

The firm said power was restored to homes in an hour.

A Western Power spokeswoman said a short would have occurred if the squirrel touched two conductors simultaneously.

She said: "It does happen that squirrels try to run up our posts and if they are long enough they can touch two conductors at the same time."

Power cuts caused by the animals are unusual.

The dead animal was found by engineers.


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