Did a squirrel cause Monday’s power outage?

City Light investigating causes for "terminator" failure

What caused the power outage last Monday that affected over 22,000 people in Fremont, Queen Anne and Ballard?

Seattle City Light Engineering and Technology Innovation Officer, Sephir Hamilton, reported today on twitter that a failed “cable terminator” was the source of the failure.

SCL made the announcement in response to public inquiries on social media about the causes of the outage. A popular question was if a squirrel had caused the failure.

The Ballard News-Tribune asked SCL this question directly.

“No, a squirrel did not cause the outage,” said Scott Thomsen, Public Affairs Officer for Seattle City Light.

“We are not certain of the cause yet, but we are continuing to look at all the parts to see what we can determine.”

Hamilton explained on twitter that cable terminators move power from underground wires to wires on the surface, which eventually feed homes and other surface infrastructure.

SCL would not reported where exactly the failed cable terminator was located in North Seattle but that it was in the “general vicinity of the neighborhoods affected.”

They did report that the cable terminator was installed just three months ago and that because of its age SCL does not know exactly what caused it to fail. SCL is conducting a full analysis of the failure, however they could not determine how long it would take.

“Because this is a new piece of equipment it is important to determine possible problems in how it was made or how it was installed. … Often times it could be just one that breaks, other times there’s something that's not connected right. We are looking for those things because if we can find any defect in the equipment we could recover the cost from the manufacturer.”

A failed cable terminator was also the cause of another outage that affected 20,000 people in North Seattle on July 8. SLC reported that the failed cable terminator was older than the recent outage terminator and that age played a role in the failure. The outage started after 2 p.m. that afternoon and was mostly restored two hours later.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.