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Holly Springs Chatter

Local company makes products to protect animals from power lines

Local company makes sure power lines and animals don't mix.

To keep the lights on at your house, electric utilities have to ward off a very persistent opponent: wildlife.

In Fuquay-Varina, the TE Connectivity plant is turning out products used worldwide to protect the power grid from animals, and animals from those high voltage areas.

Experts say springtime is when animals pose the highest risk to substations.

Duke Energy lists animals as the biggest reason for power outages behind only trees and storms, naming squirrels Public Enemy No. 1, causing power outages to about 200,000 customers across the Carolinas during the last five years.

At TE, experts make various parts that create barriers between hot spots in the power grid infrastructure and animals.

"At a substation, everything's incredibly expensive," said Stephen Parker, who specializes in TE's Wildlife and Asset Protection products. "So now, $50,000 down the drain. Your lights are going to be off for probably overnight or a day or until a crew can come out and fix it."

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