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Iguana causes 'large-scale' power outage in Lake Worth Beach, city says

Lake Worth Beach Electric Utility restores power in about 35 minutes
Posted at 1:45 PM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 23:50:42-05

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — Iguanas can cause all kinds of problems in South Florida — including causing power outages.

The city of Lake Worth Beach tweeted late Wednesday morning that there was a large-scale outage caused by an iguana. The issue occurred at the city's Sixth Avenue substation.

The city said that the outage affected customers in the South East area of their service area.

Jason Bailey, Lake Worth Beach's assistant director of system operations, said the power was restored within 35 minutes.

The outage impacted 1,431 customers, according to city spokesman Ben Kerr.

"I thought there's gotta be a car accident," Abigail Kowal with Happy Car Sales said. "My gosh, what happened? Everything just shut down. My computers weren't working."

When informed, she said: "An iguana? That's all it was, really?"

Kerr said they have a team that has been working to remedy wildlife problems that can impact the power grid.

There have been three separate incidents involving iguanas, he said.

"It's down 50% from last year," Kerr said. "And that's to do with us putting in a lot of safety measures to try and stop it. The problem with the iguana is because they're so big, they basically drive over lines."

An iguana caused a "large-scale' power outage on Dec. 7, 2022, at the Sixth Avenue substation in Lake Worth Beach.
An iguana caused a "large-scale' power outage on Dec. 7, 2022, at the Sixth Avenue substation in Lake Worth Beach.

Kerr said the city is currently undergoing a system hardening and reliability improvement project to alleviate these types of problems.

"The iguanas are a particularly complex issue but one that we, and other utilities, are addressing," Kerr said in a statement.

Green iguanas are not native to Florida and can also cause damage to residential and commercial landscape vegetation, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In addition, wildlife experts said the reptiles can cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks.

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