CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Behind tree limbs, wildlife accounts for the largest number of power outages a power company must repair.

To deter critters like snakes, raccoons and squirrels from hurting themselves and damaging equipment, Duke Energy is installing Wildlife-Deterrent Fencing at every sub-station they operate.

The new specialized fencing has holes too small for snakes to fit through. On top is an outward facing slope preventing creatures from crawling over the top.

If an animal should fall into the station from overhead, it should be able to crawl out on its own Duke says.

"This fence we've found to be extremely effective," said Mark Howard, a Duke Energy Linemen. "They will do anything to get in."

Duke Energy says when an animal like a snake slithers to a place where he shouldn't, it usually means a loss of life for the snake, and 4-6,000 customers without power for hours or maybe longer.

"It the animal gets in and actually causes damage, that would damage the equipment. We would have to replace it and make repairs that could go on for several hours," said Duke Energy Spokesperson Paige Layne.

"Summertime is not the time you want your power going out."

Each fence sub-station project takes about three weeks to complete Duke says. So far, 250 Duke stations have been outfitted with the new fencing. Duke says there are hundreds of stations left to go.