Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Squirrels take out thousands of Missoula residents' electricity

Pine Squirrel in sunny day
bloodua/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Red Squirrel on a branch in a sunny day

Missoula’s squirrel population decreased by at least three this weekend after knocking out electricity to thousands of city residents.

At one point nearly 15,000 NorthWestern Energy customers lost power for roughly 45 minutes after a squirrel damaged a local substation.

Many Missoula customers temporarily lost their service Saturday morning, Sunday morning and again on Sunday evening.

NorthWestern Energy told Montana Public Radio squirrels are to blame for each disruption, adding that the bushy-tailed rodents are one of the leading causes of power outages.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
(406) 243-4065
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information