Snake Causes Power Outage for 9,800 Homes in Japan Amid Heatwave

A single snake was behind a massive power outage that cut electricity to nearly 10,000 homes in Japan’s Fukushima province. 

According to Japan Today, around 9,800 households were affected by a power outage on June 29. The electrical outage caused blackouts in a swathe of Koriyama City in the northern prefecture of Fukushima.

The incident, which occurred at about 2.10 p.m. local time, has been traced to an errant reptile roaming a substation in Koriyama City, per the outlet.

The Tohoku Electric Power company, or TEPCO, found the burned remains of a snake at one of its substations, Japan Today reported. However, smoke from the burnt snake caused multiple fire engines to be dispatched to the scene. 

TEPCO told Japanese media outlet Asahi News that the outage was likely due to the snake slithering over a live wire. As a result of an unexpected energy surge — from the electricity coursing through the snake’s body and into other live wires — the system automatically shut down, causing the blackout. 

Footage from the All-Nippon News Network in Japan showed workers milling around the Koriyama City substation. The network also reported that the snake’s corpse was burned to a crisp and that workers managed to restore power in an hour.

 

It is unclear what kind of snake was involved in the incident. TEPCO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

The power outage in Fukushima comes amid a heatwave that has swept across Japan. On July 3, Tokyo marked its record ninth consecutive “extremely hot day” with the mercury hitting well above 95 Fahrenheit, beating a temperature record set in the summer of 2015.

The Washington Post reported last month that Japan’s power grid is being strained due to more people relying on air conditioning to deal with the sweltering heat. The Japanese government has also warned that the anomalously high temperatures could lead to power shortages, appealing to people to conserve energy, especially during the peak usage timings in the late afternoon. 

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