The Washington Post

Snake causes Easter Sunday power outage for thousands of Pepco customers

Occasionally, Mother Nature knocks down power lines with wind or severe rain. Ice and heavy snow are often culprits. Or there’s the classic tale of a kitty stuck on a utility pole near electrical wires.

But Sunday, residents of Upper Marlboro lost power because of a more unusual creature messing with a Pepco substation: a snake.

About 10:43 a.m. on the warm, clear day, customers in the Upper Marlboro area reported they had lost power. Clay Anderson, a spokesman for the utility, said five circuit feeders were not working at a substation, leaving about 6,800 customers without electricity on Easter.

Crews tried to offset the problem by moving loads from that substation to others in the area, Anderson said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Anderson said that power had been restored to most of those in the affected area. The problem, crews discovered, was that a snake had “fouled up a breaker” at the substation, Anderson said.

The snake “got stuck in a breaker” and was electrocuted, and crews had to remove the remains to fix the equipment. The snake “gummed up the works,” Anderson said. “It sounds bizarre, but [the crew] said it was a gooey mess.”

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.


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