We've entered a strange new era for the electric power sector -- for all of humanity, really.
Utility workers are familiar with obscure terms like differentiator circuits, ohmmeters and potentiometers. But they're now being forced to learn about Charmanders, Bulbasaurs and Squirtles overrunning the country's substations and power plants.
The country's power providers are on high alert.
NEVER attempt to enter an electrical substation.— Cass County Electric (@CassCountyElec) July 13, 2016
Trust us. Zapdos isn't in there. We checked. #PokemonGO pic.twitter.com/3R4lazYmAA
America's biggest utility, Duke Energy, is also taking notice on social media. So are American Electric Power, Entergy and FirstEnergy.
These utilities are referring to Pokemon Go, an augmented-reality version of the Pokemon game series, which launched last week. Users wander around in the physical world catching Pokemon ("pocket monsters"), which can be found living in a virtual world that mirrors our own. (If you need a full explainer of how the game works and why it's popular, read this.)
The game became an overnight success, picking up more users than Twitter in just a week's time. And that meant millions of people wandering the streets, looking for Pokemon to catch -- many of which are found on private property, as well as places like the Holocaust museum and Arlington Cemetery.
Some of the country's biggest electric utilities are warning gamers not to try catching Pokemon living amidst electrical equipment or power plants.
Elizabeth Harball of E&E news has a good summary of how the Pokemon craze is spilling over into the electric sector. "Gamers have shown up at our power plants, and there was some discussion that you could catch electric type Pokemon near substations and transformers," American Electric Power spokesperson Tammy Ridout told Harball in an email.
No one has yet been injured throwing balls at Pokemon lurking near substations. But with tens of millions of users now roaming around looking for fake monsters on their phones, utilities are concerned that distracted users could get electrocuted or wander onto private property.
There's even a Reddit thread for people who work in nuclear power plants that have been overtaken by Pokemon. The post below was written by an employee of Dominion Resources, a company that manages over 5 gigawatts of nuclear power plants. One plant run by Dominion is apparently full of electric-type creatures -- "which is quite fitting," wrote the employee.
If this still confuses you, try reading this. If that bores you, feel free to go back to reading about advanced distribution management systems, distributed platform providers or ancillary services.