WOOD RIVER — A cat who entered a fenced, Ameren substation Tuesday evening touched electric wiring inside, causing three fuses on a transformer to blow out, cutting electricity to 2,100 customers.
The cat perished during the 8:25 p.m. incident at the Sixth Street substation.
Brian Bretsch, communications executive at Ameren’s Collinsville office, said the company sent both electric and natural gas crews to the site to determine cause of the outage.
“Because it was so cold, we had to bring people back in 10- to 15-minute intervals, 200 to 300 customers at a time,” Bretsch said, beginning at 9:25 p.m. “Gas pressure goes down when the weather is cold, and pilot lights go out.”
He said the crew wanted to prevent a mass extinguishment of pilot lights in the affected areas of Wood River and Roxana once furnace fans kicked back on. He said many people call the company to have someone come to their homes to reignite their pilot lights.
Bretsch said the electricity likely was switched on from another area substation, with crews doing the repairs at the Wood River location on Wednesday morning.
All of the customers got their power restored by 11:50 p.m., he said.