Fruit bats cause power outages in parts of the Top End every year. Fruit bats are attracted to flowering native plants that provide a food source for them while in season. Parks and Wildlife advise that the fruit bats will move on when their food runs out.
How do bats cause a power outage?
When the fruits bats cluster around powerline insulators near their food sources, they can form a bridge from the conductor to the steel cross-arms. This short-circuits the high voltage system, causing the outage.
If the power outage is short - a few seconds - it means the bats have fallen away and the system can safely restore power. If this doesn't happen, our crews have to patrol the powerline, find and remove the fruit bats before power can be restored.
What is Power and Water doing to fix this?
We have upgraded the insulators on overhead powerlines, replacing them with longer post-top insulators. This provides greater clearance for bats, birds and other animals and aims to make the system more resilient to lightning strikes.
In some of the more impacted areas we have installed specially designed animal covers, which have proven effective against fruit bats and other animals.
If you're affected by an outage, check Power and Water's outages and faults feed for more information.