UPDATE, 8 p.m.: Power has been restored to the Puyallup area, according to the Puget Sound Energy website.
ORIGINAL POST: If you’re reading this in Puyallup, chances are you’re using your phone, and a neighborhood squirrel is to blame.
Nearly 6,000 Puget Sound Energy customers in downtown Puyallup are without power after a rodent shorted out equipment at a substation, utility spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken said.
“Animal-related outages are not uncommon,” Bracken said. “You can imagine the kinds of animals that might get into an overhead system or an underground system.”
The outage at the Stewart substation, near Stewart Avenue Northwest and 12th Street Northwest, was reported at 4:53 p.m. Wednesday, Bracken said.
PSE workers plan to get service to most of the customers back by 7 p.m., with service restored to all by 9 p.m., Bracken said.
The Puyallup library closed early because of the power outage.
Many traffic lights are without power in the city, according to Puyallup police. They are to be treated as four-way stops until power is restored.
Bracken had no word on the fate of the squirrel, but she said most animals die after coming into contact with electrical equipment.