A trimmed video of Minister Senthil Balaji saying that “electricity shut down are happened due to the squirrels are running on power lines” has caused a stir on social media.
At a press conference on June 4, Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji was asked questions about measures to be taken against the spread of corona infection, electricity tariffs and other issues related to the electricity sector. Then a reporter asked, “There is a power outage here and there.” In his reply, the Minister mentioned an example that one of the problems are squirrels. The video, which was edited in that area and shared widely now by the opposition party, and now went viral for the past two days. The minister statement was twisted that “only the squirrels are the reason for the electricity shut down.” which has been the subject of ridicule and condemnation by many.
Video of Senthil Balaji speaking:
In the video, he said, “I will not accept that there is electricity shutdown. In particular, action will be taken if there is a power outage in these areas. Yesterday we received the permission of the Hon’ble Chief Minister and sent a circular. After last December 2020, with elections in mind, previous rulers left without doing the monthly maintenance work. No work has been done. As the job of removing the overgrown trees and plants was not done, all of them are collide in the electrical wires. Although I am not blaming the opposition.
(In the 4th minute) Minister quoted an example that “In some situation at some places, the plant grows and the squirrel runs into it and it collides with the wire. Maintenance work should be done only when such conditions arise. Otherwise, it has been temporarily postponed to engage in maintenance work until the end of the corona curfew, ”he said in the interview.
He cites a statement only as an example that “in some places maintenance work is carried out in a hurry for the electricity shut down caused by squirrels running on the wire as the plants grow”. Also, they are currently going viral after two weeks now.
Do squirrels really cause electricity shutdown?
There have been a lot of reports of power outages in the United States. According to the Washington Post, squirrels account for 9-21% of all power outages there. According to the American Public Power Association, squirrels are a frequent cause of power outages in the United States.
During the April 2021 elections, there was a power outage in the Gobichettipalayam constituency of Erode district. Then it was revealed that a squirrel got stuck in a transformer and caused a power outage. Following this, the news has come out that the power plant employees removed the squirrel and restored it.
Squirrels have been a real global problem in causing resistance.
In many places, squirrels are likely to grab one pole and the hind legs another as they try to cross the bar. Then the two wires have different poles so there is a chance of outrage. Incidents like this do happen often. However, the E-Board does not have data on how many outrages occur by squirrels.
Minister Senthil Balaji cited this news about the squirrel only as an example of the problems that arise in some places due to non-maintenance. They say maintenance work will take place only in such situations. The overall power outage is not said to be due to squirrels. However, part of the video has been misrepresented on social media that squirrels are the only cause of power outages in Tamil Nadu.