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Squirrels damage utility equipment, homeowner contacts 2 On Your Side for permanent fix

3 months 1 day 11 hours ago Wednesday, January 10 2024 Jan 10, 2024 January 10, 2024 6:57 PM January 10, 2024 in On Your Side
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A woman's internet goes in and out because squirrels are damaging the equipment behind her house.

The problem has been going on since 2014, and Andrea LaFaver says it's about time the utility company made some permanent changes.

"Sometimes our Internet is down, it's about every hour it fluctuates," she said.

The squirrels are eating through wires and building nests in AT&T's equipment.

"The squirrels consider it almost like a salad," said LaFaver.

When there's a problem, LaFaver says AT&T comes out, removes a nest, makes a repair, and soon after, the squirrels scurry back. It's not uncommon for the company to visit LaFaver's house two or three times a week.

Each time, the company must drive a truck into her backyard to reach the equipment. There's a major utility junction behind her house that's made up of copper wires not fiber optic cables. LaFaver fears because it's old technology that her issues are not a priority.

"Instead of repairing the system properly, they put a Band-aid on it or patch it just to get by," she said.

Patches have included a plastic bag and a plastic covering that had previously been secured with what appears to be tape.

"They taped that up before Christmas to try to cover the hole the squirrels had made and basically it's glorified duct tape is what it is," said LaFaver.

The same day 2 On Your Side met with LaFaver, AT&T came back to the house to make repairs, this time with better news.

"They are installing a form of shrink wrap around the wire," said LaFaver.

The wrapping will make it nearly impossible for squirrels to cause problems. AT&T also responded quickly when 2 On Your Side asked why it took so long to get to this point. An AT&T spokesperson says it's working as quickly as possible to replace the damaged equipment and make enhancements to the cables, which will help prevent damage from squirrels. AT&T also says it's investigating damage it may have made to LaFaver's driveway.

LaFaver says the utility company is also installing a material to discourage squirrels from getting onto the lines in the first place and apologized to her for the long delay.

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