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Eaton's Blackout Tracker Annual Report Shows 14 Million People Affected by Power Outages in 2013
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 02:24:34 PM

Eaton report illustrates the true cost of power outages and the importance of reliable backup power.

RALEIGH, NC -- March 31, 2014 -- Power management company Eaton today announced the release of its Blackout Tracker Annual Report for 2013. For the fifth year running, California topped the list of states with the most power outages, followed by Texas and Michigan. On average, 6,543 people were affected for over three hours per outage in 2013 and power failures caused problems for people and businesses in all 50 states.

"The Blackout Tracker Annual Report illustrates the scope and severity of power outages across the country and the serious consequences that can arise for businesses when the lights go out," said Mike DeCamp, senior marketing communications manager, Eaton Power Quality Division. "With electrical power outages, surges and spikes estimated to cost the U.S. economy $150 billion in damages, it’s more important than ever for companies of all sizes to invest in reliable power backup solutions."

Blackout Tracker data is based on a full year of reported power outages across the U.S. and is organized into two sections: an overview of national power outage data and power outage data by state. Overall, 3,236 reported outages were used as the basis for the 2013 report, representing an increase of about 15 percent from the 2,808 outages reported in 2012. The reported number of people affected by outages decreased from 25 million in 2012 to 14 million in 2013. However, complete data is often unavailable on certain aspects of reported outages, including the number of people affected and the duration of the blackout.

Eaton’s annual report also features "top" outage lists, including the most significant reported outages, largest data center outages and the most unusual causes for outages.

Among the most unusual causes of power outages in 2013:

  • Clallam County, Wash: On May 10, a man was so mad at his neighbors that he went on a rampage with a bulldozer. He damaged four homes, knocked over a 70-foot pole and cut power to thousands of people.
  • Naugatuck, Conn: On June 7, a runaway trash truck rolled down the street and smashed into a utility pole after the driver exited to take a phone call – damaging the truck and knocking out power.
  • Redondo Beach, Calif: On December 9, wild parrots roosting on an overhead line knocked out power to more than 6,100 customers for three hours.

Illustrating the importance of reliable backup power, even the White House weighed in on the severity of blackouts in 2013 – releasing a report showing that outages caused by harsh weather cost the U.S. economy an average of $18 billion to $33 billion a year. Although power failures are common due to weather and other unforeseen events, uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) and generators are designed to reliably deliver power during outages.

Eaton has tracked power outage information since February 16, 2008 in an effort to educate consumers on the causes and potential impact of outages. A power outage is just one of nine common power problems that affect power quality and availability. Eaton’s robust portfolio of data center products that store, cool, power, manage and secure mission-critical data center technology includes UPSs, power distribution products, data center services, Power Xpert® power management software, information technology (IT) rack systems and data center air containment solutions, as well as medium and low voltage switchgear.

Data for the annual report is based on reports from news services, newspapers, websites (including those of newspapers and TV stations) and personal accounts.

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