Middle Tennessee Electric stumped by snakes causing Franklin power outages

Middle Tennessee Electric officials are grappling with a series of confounding power outages caused by an unusual culprit: snakes.

In the past 10 days, four power outages in Williamson County have been attributed to these reptiles.

The latest incident at Henpeck substation was triggered by gray rat snakes scaling poles and electrocuting themselves.

“This is a very unusual situation because MTE is a modern, state-of-the-art electric utility with a 99.98% reliability rating. But sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas,” said MTE spokesperson Larry Rose.

Established in 1936, MTE is the second-largest electric cooperative in the country and serves over 750,000 people.

Grey rat snakes, known to be excellent climbers, are native to the eastern and central U.S. and are commonly found in forests. They are usually found near streams, around farms and in suburban areas where they pray upon small mammals and bird eggs, according to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

“This is similar to having a breaker in your home’s breaker box trip. Each time this has happened, we dispatch a crew to the substation where the crew will remove the snake’s carcass and will reset the tripped breaker,” said Rose.

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