The Brown Tree Snake, Boiga irregularis, is an introduced species on Guam where it causes frequent electrical power outages. The snake's high abundance, its propensity for climbing, and use of disturbed habitats all contribute to interruption of Guam's electrical service and the activities that depend on electrical power. Snakes have caused more than 1600 power outages in the 20-yr period of 1978-1997 and most recently nearly 200 outages per year. Single outages spanning the entire island and lasting 8 or more hours are estimated to cost in excess of $3,000,000 in lost productivity, but the costs of outages that involve only parts of the island or those of shorter durations are more difficult to quantify. Costs to the island's economy have exceeded $4.5 M per year over a 7-yr period without considering repair costs, damage to electrical equipment, and lost revenues. Snakes pose the greatest problem on high voltage transmission lines, on transformers, and inside electrical substations.
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Economic costs of electrical system instability and power outages caused by snakes on the Island of Guam