Update (1:50 p.m.): NYSEG spokesperson Kelly Packard told The Ithaca Voice that a squirrel is to blame for the widespread outages in Ithaca today.

“A squirrel got into the South Hill substation and caused damage to some of the equipment,” Packard said. “Crews initially performed circuit switching to redirect the lines that are fed by the substation to other substations and are now making repairs to the South Hill substation. We are expecting to restore power to the remaining 650 customers by 2:30 p.m.”

Packard confirmed that the animal did not survive. There are still 658 customers without power, according to NYSEG.

Update (11:30 a.m.): NYSEG’s list of outages has now been updated from 70 to about 662 customers throughout Tompkins County.

Original Story (10:55 a.m.):

ITHACA, N.Y.—Tompkins County has issued a notice to residents of the City of Ithaca that power outages are taking place throughout the city Thursday morning.

NYSEG is responding to the situation, though their website of power outages only lists about 70 customers without power in Tompkins County. According to an announcement from the county’s new alert system, it seems to be impacting other electricity sources outside of residential, since traffic lights are out around the city.

“Power outages in City,” states an alert from Tompkins County SIREN. “Several traffic lights out. Treat these intersections as a 4-way stop. NYSEG en route. Avoid city until later if possible.”

As of 10:45 a.m., NYSEG crews were working in manholes on the Commons to help restore certain electricity lines — with the manholes emitting a rather potent, strange smell, though not apparently harmful.

More on this story throughout the day as updates are made available.

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.org.