Pigeon causes large power outage

It is unclear why so many customers lost power. —Courtesy of MEMA

Updated Dec. 4

Thousands of down-Island residents were struck by power outages on Monday. 

“Our crews responded to a power outage in the Oak Bluffs area just before 12:30 this afternoon, affecting approximately 3,600 customers,” Eversource spokesperson Chris McKinnon told The Times in an email. “Using remote switching capabilities, our system operators were able to restore power to all but 475 customers within the first five minutes of the outage. While patrolling the system, our crews found that a pigeon had come into contact with a piece of electric equipment, causing the initial outage. Repairs were made to the equipment, and all remaining customers were restored at 1:15 p.m.”

A Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) map showed that the heaviest hit town was Oak Bluffs, with 3,969 customers losing power. In Edgartown, 643 customers were affected, while only eight customers lost power in Tisbury. 

Eversource’s power outage map shows that power has been restored to all customers. The last group to have their power restored were 475 customers in Oak Bluffs near New York Avenue. 

Updated with additional information from Eversource.


    • John– I’ll help you with the math. According to the
      article , a hapless pigeon was accidentally electrocuted
      at 12:30 pm cutting power to apx 3.600 customers.
      3,125 of them had power back after 5 minutes.
      The other 475 had their power restored after 45 minutes.
      I understand that some people have a difficult time
      being able to do simple math , especially associated
      with time– I know it’s really confusing since most things
      are based on hundreds ( like pennies) but time for some
      reason is divided into minutes and hours . And it’s so
      confusing — 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day ?
      But to make it clear;
      85% in 5 minutes for some people, 45 minutes for others.

      But I have to say, I can’t justify the actions
      of that “terrorist” pidgeon. Or the “unacceptable ”
      response from eversource to get power back to 100%
      of its customers within 45 minutes.
      I’m sure the utility companies in Naples can get it all
      back up in 1 minute.
      But if anyone here who works for eversource is reading this;
      I think your team is an extraordinarily efficient and effective
      well oiled machine that I , and many others that i may speak
      for appreciate. Thank you !

      • Thanks don for giving me the Math lesson but I vaguely remember going over that in 2nd grade. Whats un-acceptable is they have circuits that can switch over in micro seconds and are used as back-up feeds to online circuitry if that circuit fails and there is no loss of power to anyone. Why arent these circuits installed on our electrical system on the island.

        • Yes John, there are modern solid state switches that can switch over in microseconds, they are very expensive. How much of an increase in electric rates are you willing to absorb to make certain that any outage is cleared in microseconds.
          Should every house on the Island have dual utility feeds in case of an outage?

      • Don when I commented on this artlcle it wasnt even known what the Power Outage was caused from or how long people were without power
        If you look and see it says updated in the begining of it
        just thought youd like to know

      • Not to push this, but the idea that our entire electrical grid is one bird landing on something away from total collapse is uh, a bit fragile for my taste.

        • It was not the the entire grid, it was 3000 customers, for five minutes.
          It can be far more robust, for far more money.

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