Monday, June 12, 2017

Small Critters Union Clashes with Power Company Over Outage Blame Game


A brief power outage in Juneau on Sunday has sparked a sharp-clawed backlash from the local chapter of the Small Critters Union, whose membership Juneau's electric utility company, Alaska Electric Light & Power, blames for the weekend disruption.

According to a report on KTOO Public News Media, AEL&P spokeswoman Debbie Driscoll "thinks a bird or squirrel" caused the hour-long outage to several areas including Douglas, West Juneau, North Douglas, and parts of downtown.

Not everyone is buying the power company's theory, though. 

Marty McMouse, President of Local 481, Small Critters, believes his membership--which includes field mice, squirrels, Stellar Blue Jays, hummingbirds, marmots, and brown recluse spiders, among others--has been unfairly tarred with the power outage blame brush when Ms. Driscoll's own words belie the critters' involvement in the mess.

"We've had a good working relationship with Driscoll over the years, this is nothing against her," said Mr. Mouse. 

"But," he continued, "even she conceded that AEL&P patrolled the line and didn't find any evidence of anything in contact with the line. It's like she's just going off past power outages caused by small critters, when in this case she fully admits it could have been anything. It's not like an eagle dropped a deer carcass on a line like last year. This is just spurious speculation on her part."

Sally Squirrel, in-house counsel for the Small Critters Union, told O.H.M. that the Small Critters have a reputation to protect.

"It's our position that, in general, small critters take on a disproportionate amount of the blame for all sorts of things," Ms. Squirrel said in an email. "We get blamed for everything from leaving turds in cabinets that are actually just loose raisins, to chewing through garbage can lids our incisors couldn't possibly penetrate. Juneau needs to be on notice, because increasingly, we're going to be squeaking up about it."

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