Power Outages in the United States

united states map of lights at night from space

As our nation continues to develop and expand, so does our demand for electricity. In the United States, demand for power has increased steadily since records were first kept. As demand increases, so do the occurrences of power outages. Each year, businesses in the US lose about $150 billion due to outages. Weather-related outages alone are responsible for $75 billion per year, sometimes higher for years with numerous severe storms. Nearly half of electricity outage costs are attributed to other factors, and surprisingly, squirrels and rodents can be to blame when they discover and interfere with power utility equipment and substations. Critter Guard’s Line Guard and Pole Guard can prevent this, as simple, but effective protective barriers for curious critters.

What causes power outages?

Most of our power outage issues stem from the infrastructure of the power grid itself. The majority of the power grid in the US was built in the early- to mid-20th century. This ageing infrastructure is more susceptible to outages than nearly all other developed countries.

As you might expect, most power outages (over 70%) result from severe weather or natural events, such as hurricanes, snow storms, and tornadoes. But what about the other 30%? Some of the causes for these outages are construction errors, grid overload, and damage to power lines (e.g. a car crashes into a utility pole). However, thousands of outages are caused by wildlife, such as birds flying into transformers, squirrels chewing through power lines, and more. Wildlife disruptions are one of the leading causes of power outages worldwide.

How much power are we losing?

Customers in the United States lose an average of 200 minutes of power per year. This might not sound like a lot, but it takes less than four hours for food in a powerless fridge to go bad, and that's if you don't open the door. The US has one of the highest rates of power outages of all the developed countries. In comparison, customers in Japan lose an average of just four minutes of power per year. 

What can we do?

The goal is to eventually revamp the entire power grid, which will surely cost billions. This process would take years, if not decades, to complete but eventually could reduce outage costs by about $50 billion per year.

Right now, however, we can work on reducing some of the more manageable causes for power outages. Install Line Guards and Pole Guards to prevent squirrels and other critters from interrupting power services are quick, effective, and cost-friendly. This could greatly reduce the number of outages across the nation, saving billions of dollars each year. Contact us for more information about protecting your lines and equipment from critters today!

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  • John Sims