Squirrels with an appetite for aluminum are at the heart of a dispute between Burbank officials and the owner of a home where appliances have twice been fried because of power surges caused by chomped wires.
Last month, John Buxer won a small claims case against the city for power surge damage to electronics belonging to his tenant, and he has another claim pending from a subsequent incident.
Electricians say squirrels like to sharpen their teeth on the aluminum grounding wires that run between power poles and homes. They don’t get electrocuted on the grounding wire because it does not convey electricity to the home. But when the grounding wire is severed, it can cause a surge of energy in the wire that supplies power, hence the damage to appliances.
Buxer is not as mad at the alleged perpetrator as he is at the city. Burbank officials at first denied Buxer’s claim, as did his insurer.