Cat seeking warm spot blamed for outage

January 8, 2008 7:58:50 AM PST
A cat picked the wrong place to come in from the cold, and caused a power outage that blacked out more than 12,000 homes and businesses.

The cat entered an electrical substation, snuggled up to a warm transformer and contacted a live circuit, causing a short that blew out nine feeder lines Monday afternoon, Idaho Power officials said.

Service was restored in less than three hours to most customers, including City Hall where the lights came on in time for a City Council meeting, utility spokesman Dennis Lopez said.

The outage also disabled traffic lights in the city of about 77,000 people. Temporary stop signs were set up at affected intersections and about 15 police officers were assigned to direct and monitor traffic. Police Lt. Eric Skoglund said he didn't know of any accidents that could be blamed on the outage.

The short circuit killed the cat.