1995 - Volume #19, Issue #2, Page #32[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Snap-On Guard Stops Transformer Outages
Called the Guthrie Guard, the red, tarantula-shaped invention has been getting rave reviews from a growing number of power companies that have used them.
"They're a God send," says Jack Klasing, of Illinois Power's Champaign-Urbana service area. "We typically had three to five power outages a week from squirrels getting on our transformers, blowing fuses. In the spring breeding sea-son and just prior to fall hibernation, we'd easily have three to five a day. That was just intolerable to us and our 70,000 rural and urban customers."
Then Klasing heard about Guthrie Guards and called inventor Jim Guthrie on the phone.
"I ordered 500 because I realized he was onto something," Klasing says. "In a little over a year, we've installed about 1,100 on our equipment in problem areas. We've had only three power outages from squirrels in that time - and all three of those were flukes, no fault of the product. That's a big win for our customers and a big win for us. I was $41,000 under my emergency call budget last year and 2/3 of that savings was the direct result of Guthrie Guards."
Guthrie spent five years designing, testing and perfecting the device, which has 12 stainless steel wires spaced around a center hub.
It installs on electric transformers. Power doesn't have to be shut off for installation. It uses the electrostatic field generated around high voltage lines to deter animals, explains Guthrie.
"Squirrels caught on video making con-tact with the guard found it jolting, but non-lethal, much like an electric fence contact," he says. "But it's enough of a jolt to train them not to make future contacts."
Since Guthrie introduced the invention, which has been publicized in one electrical trade journal and at least one newspaper, he's been getting calls from all over the U.S.
His Iowa company has sold more than 50,000 of the devices at about $12 apiece in 32 states. It has orders for 40,000 more.
"It's been very hectic," he says. "We really didn't anticipate the kind of response we've been getting."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Guthrie, Guthrie Corporation, P.O. Box 1811, 5105 Sand Road SE, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-1811 (ph 319 339-9490; fax 337-2147).
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