Holy Cross Energy: Cat situation quite dangerous
EAGLE COUNTY — Holy Cross Energy wants you to know their power poles can be dangerous places.
And a cat which appeared to be trapped on one recently in Eagle exemplifies that reality, says Stephen B. Casey with the utility company.
“The public should be informed that they are not permitted, under any circumstances, to climb or access our poles,” said Casey. “… From a safety perspective, even a rescue attempt by our trained line personnel creates undue risk of contact with an energized line.”
For Beatrice, a 10-year-old cat from Eagle, that was bad news last month. Beatrice was forced to descend the pole on her own, a prospect which caused her to stay atop the pole for four nights, said her owner, Jean Green.
Craig Murray with Holy Cross Energy talked to Green about the situation as it was happening. He said as an animal lover himself, he knows first-hand that a rescue attempt is not the right play with cats atop power poles.
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“I have seen that when somebody’s precious pet is electrocuted … almost vaporized, and it’s really traumatic,” Murray said.
OPPOSITE OF RESCUE
“Even if somebody’s up there who has the certification, what happens is that the cat doesn’t know what’s really going on, and if somebody’s going to come up there in a bucket, or with a snare, or something like that, he doesn’t know that person,” Murray said. “The worst case scenario is the cat freaks … he’s on a grounded device, puts his tail into contact with an energized wire or other device, and there’s an electrical explosion. During that explosion he’s probably gone, and whoever is in that close proximity is going to be in that ionized state and can be exposed to some type of electrical contact, as well.”
To become certified to ascend a power pole, line crew personnel must undergo rigorous training and testing, typically a four-year program, according to Holy Cross Energy.
“It’s a safe commodity, when it’s contained,” Murray said of power poles, “when folks have had the training and know how to operate it. If you don’t is when it gets nasty.”