Power Outages Becoming More Severe

Aug. 25, 2015

Research shows link between extreme weather events and long power disruptions.

While the total number of power outage events have stayed static for the past few years, new research shows that the time customers are left without power during outages has been increasing over time. The study, Assessing Changes in the Reliability of the U.S. Electric Power System, was created by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and shows that severe weather events are the main driver behind the 5-10% increase in number of minutes customers are left without power.

Noting that previous studies had not uncovered the link but focused mainly on events related to the largest power outages, the researchers reviewed information about both large and small power disruption events to isolate the trend. The study examined a large range of utilities including almost 70% of U.S. customers from 2000-2012 and is also the first to use econometric analysis to link increasingly severe weather events with more drawn-out power outages.

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