Below is a roundup of some of the most unusual outages of 2020:
1. No butts about it
Hundreds of homes in a Scottish town lost power in March due to a four-year-old bull named Ron, who was suffering from what his owner described as an "itchy bum." Attempting to scratch the itch, Ron rubbed up against a utility pole and knocked out power to a transformer box.
2. She definitely hit the sweet spot
Minnesota’s University of St. Thomas was plunged into darkness in February after a softball player proved she was a real ringer! During batting practice, a sprinkler head was struck by a softball at the campus’ athletic complex, which caused flooding inside the facility that led to the failure of a groundwater pump system in an electrical vault. The subsequent flooding then sparked a power outage that affected eight buildings, including several residence halls.
3. Power dropped like flies
A swarm of newly hatched mayflies was blamed for a July 2 outage at a Michigan nuclear power plant. The large throng of flies landed on equipment, causing arcing or a short that in turn knocked out power to one of the plant’s off-site power lines. A spokesperson revealed that the plant routinely decreases the number of exterior and interior lights visible in the area to deter the mayflies from gathering there.
4. He apparently lacked an eagle eye
An eagle that chose to sit on the wrong spot on a transformer was electrocuted in Kodiak, Ala., on Jan. 7, cutting power to 70 homes. The bird was discovered on the ground beneath the power line.
5. Spilling the beans
Not to be upstaged by corn, a tractor-trailer loaded with beans overturned on a highway in Kosciusko County, Ind., on March 19, damaging large utility poles that carry high voltage electric lines and causing a widespread power outage.
6. DWI or DW13?
A 13-year-old intoxicated driver crashed into a Fallbrook, Calif. electrical pole in the early morning hours of Feb. 4, causing a power outage to 45 customers including the local high school, which had to cancel classes for the day. The teen was driving a parent’s car, which burst into flames when he crashed into the pole. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and was also cited for driving under the influence.
7. Shake, rattle and roll
A 5.7 earthquake that rocked Magna, Utah, and the surrounding areas on March 18 left 73,000 of residents without power.
8. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … power glider?
An outage in Outagamie County, Wis., on July 4 was blamed on a pair of power gliders who hit a utility line and crashed into a farm field. The man and woman were transported to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
9. Nothing but rubbish
Power was knocked out to a large portion of downtown Gainesville, Ga., on Feb. 10 after a garbage truck crashed into a pole next to a dumpster, taking out a transformer. The incident damaged several power lines, with emergency repairs extending into the following day.
10. Sneaky snake
Nearly 700 Spartanburg, S.C., customers were without electricity June 2 after a snaked slithered into a substation. The activity caused a flash, which turned into a fire and led to the power outage.