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Power outage

Traffic backs up at the intersection of 32nd Street West and King Avenue West during a power outage Thursday, April 18, 2019.

A power outage, evidently caused by a squirrel, temporarily left an estimated 7,600 customers without electricity on the West End of Billings Thursday afternoon, according to NorthWestern Energy.

The utility company stated in a social media post at about 12:30 p.m. that crews are working to restore power. By 1:45 p.m., power had been restored to all customers, NorthWestern spokeswoman Jo Dee Black said in an email.

"Customers" refers to the number of utility account-holders in the outage area, rather than the total number of people affected.

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Crews found a dead squirrel inside a substation along King Avenue, Black said, and assumed the squirrel to be the cause of the outage.

She said there didn't immediately appear to be any immediate damage to the substation, but that the squirrel may have caused a circuit to get "tripped."

NorthWestern Energy

NorthWestern Energy trucks respond to a substation during a power outage on the West End of Billings. NorthWestern Energy is seeking a one-year $23.8 million rate increase to make up for unexpected expenses in parts of 2018 and 2019.

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