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Recent Power Outages Across The U.S.

by Suzanne Hooley

Emergency Lighting, General Power Quality, Medical Power Quality

In recent weeks and months, the U.S. has been plagued with a number of widespread, major power outages, which have affected millions of electrical utility customers.   The causes of these recent outages were primarily from faulty equipment and acts of Nature:

  • July 11, Chicago IL:
    A derecho (bow-shaped, fast-moving and often long-lived, straight-line windstorm) knocked-out power to 805,000 commercial and residential customers.
  • August 27 – 28, the Atlantic Seaboard from North Carolina to New England:
    “Hurricane Irene” caused 5+ million power outages.
  • September 8 – 9, Southern California and Arizona:
    The replacement of a piece of problematic monitoring equipment left another 5+ million commercial and residential customers “in the dark”.
  • September 16, Oakland CA:
    Several banks of stadium lights at Oakland Coliseum went out during a baseball game, leaving several thousand fans sitting in partial-to-total darkness.   (Imagine being in the restroom, at the concession stand, or in any other darkened area among total strangers … more than a little scary!)

It’s no secret that despite energy conservation efforts (CFL bulbs, LED’s, high-efficiency appliances, etc), the stress placed on an aging electrical infrastructure in the U.S. is compounded by continually increasing demands for electricity — it simply is what it is.   As for violent weather events, “stuff happens” — weather systems are not going to go away!

The fact is that power outages are going to happen.   Granted, typically not every few weeks nor affecting so many millions of customers … at least, we hope not!   But nonetheless … what can you do about it?   Better question:  what are you going to do about it … do you have a contingency plan, and does it include emergency backup power?

Preparation is key.

Ironically, on July 8 this summer (harbinger of things to come, perhaps?!), we blogged about  “The Cost Of Downtime … “ !     Take a read, think about your own business continuity … and ask us how we can help you with your UPS’s, centralized emergency lighting, and other life safety / mission critical electrical preparations!

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