lightning striking nearby neighborhood and powerlines

The Most Common Causes of Power Outages

Power outages can range anywhere from a minor annoyance to a critical safety issue, depending on when they occur and how long they last. While there are protective measures in place to keep your electricity going despite the elements, “blackouts” are inevitable no matter where you live. Let’s look at the top three causes of power outages below.

1. Natural Disasters and Extreme Weather Conditions

While navigating a global pandemic and political unrest, Americans could add several natural disasters and extreme weather to the growing list of 2020’s misfortunes. In fact, during 2020, the U.S. experienced 1.33 billion outage hours (a 73% increase from 2019).

Electrical infrastructures can be disrupted by any of the following:

  • Hurricanes and tropical storms
  • Windstorms
  • Wildfires
  • Heatwaves
  • Tornadoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Ice and “deep freezes”

While the weather or temperature itself may not always cause a power failure, the things that come with extreme weather (like strong winds, lightning, or fallen trees) can damage poles, powerlines, and other electrical equipment.

2. Overburdened Electrical Equipment

With all the electrical apparatus we use in our daily lives, it has become increasingly common for transformers, cables, and other equipment to suffer from high power demand. If the equipment gets hot enough from overuse, it can even melt!

Rolling blackouts are especially common during heatwaves in heavily populated areas: everyone in town is running their air conditioner (which uses a lot of power), and the local grid just can’t handle the demand.

3. Human Error

Many power cables are placed underground to protect them from natural disasters, extreme weather, and tampering by humans and animals. Unfortunately, that also makes them hidden from those who need to dig for construction, renovation, or some other project. It’s fairly typical for excavation equipment to disrupt underground power cables and cause a blackout. An overview of the area before digging can usually prevent this problem.

Underground cables can also suffer from premature wear and tear. While this type of issue does not occur overnight, it can be avoided by proper installation that ensures the cables are correctly isolated.

Standby Generator Installation in Columbus

Forget about spoiled groceries and days without Wi-Fi. With a whole-home generator, you’ll be ready to take on the next power outage in your neighborhood, no matter the season. You’ll even have enough power to keep your heater running during a deep freeze or your AC going during a heatwave. Contact My Electric Works today to learn more about generator options for your home: (614) 515-4520.

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