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Squirrels sharpening teeth along power lines blamed for power surges

May 31, 2011 | 12:21 pm

A favorite lair of Burbank squirrels. Squirrels with an appetite for aluminum are at the heart of a dispute between Burbank officials and the owner of a home where appliances have twice been fried because of power surges caused by chomped wires.

Last month, John Buxer won a small-claims case against the city for power surge damage to electronics belonging to his tenant, and he has another claim pending from a subsequent incident.

Electricians say squirrels like to sharpen their teeth on the aluminum grounding wires that run between power poles and homes. They don’t get electrocuted on the grounding wire because it does not convey electricity to the home.

But when the grounding wire is severed, it can cause a surge of energy in the wire that supplies power, hence the damage to appliances.

Read more: "City in power-surge dispute"


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-- Bill Kisliuk, Burbank Leader / Times Community News

Photo: A favorite lair of Burbank squirrels. Credit: Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times