top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Squirrelled out: Electricians find cause of sudden blackout in France

A power outage in a small village in Dordogne had a rather unusual furry cause at the weekend

A photo of a red squirrel high up on an electricity wire pole, sitting on some coated wires

It is relatively rare that a squirrel climbing on an electricity pole would cause a blackout Pic: irishka5 / Shutterstock

Villagers in southwestern France whose electricity was cut for two hours were surprised to discover that the sudden outage had been caused by none other than a squirrel.

The 200-home village of La Bachellerie, near Condat-sur-Vézère in Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, experienced a complete power cut on Sunday, October 30, between 11:00 and 13:00.

Electricity management company Enedis said that after investigations, they discovered that the outage had been caused by a squirrel. The animal had climbed to the top of an electricity pole, and inadvertently caught two live wires. 

This short-circuited the network and caused the cut. Sadly, the squirrel died as a result.

The company said that the incident is rare, and that power cuts caused by animals are typically the result of birds on the line spreading their wings and accidentally touching the wires.

However, other animals do sometimes get caught. 

Earlier this year, the village of Krautergersheim in Bas-Rhin, Alsace, also suffered a power cut - this time because of a stork. The bird was building its nest when it dropped a branch on the electricity cables. A fire broke out and the power went down. 

Another small furry creature was the culprit in another case in June, in Canada. Several villages were without power and Internet for eight hours after a beaver damaged lines.

Related articles

Winter power cuts: What risk in France and why an app can help 

France to offer cheap electricity to those who cut usage during peaks

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France