One snake’s misguided journey into a power substation sparked an hourlong power outage in Apex on Wednesday night.
And this wasn’t the first time Apex residents were left in the dark, courtesy of a sneaky snake seeking a snack.
“This happened last year, too,” said Stacie Galloway, the town’s spokeswoman, with incredulity in her voice. “I’m serious. This exact same thing.”
The town has mesh fencing around its electric substations to keep snakes from entering. But for the second year in a row, a reptilian intruder got through and tripped an emergency shut-off.
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When snakes, squirrels or other common culprits become an unwitting conductor of electricity, power shuts off to prevent any damage to the transformer, said Brandon Boone, electric utilities manager.
“Quite honestly, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence,” Boone said.
When the garden-variety trespasser electrocuted itself at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at a substation on East Williams Street, about 1,200 homes and businesses found themselves powerless for a little more than an hour.
As with another power outage on July 22, 2014, Wednesday’s perpetrator was a black snake, Boone said. They’re fond of birds’ eggs, he said, and end up burning themselves in a quest for food.
“We do sometimes have birds build nests at our stations,” Boone said. “And the snakes see that and think it might be an easy meal.”
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran