Recently the Power Quality Division of Eaton released their annual findings on reported power outages across the United States. Eaton specializes with internal (beyond the utility meter) power protection with uninterruptible power systems (UPS), battery backup products, standby and portable generators and surge protection devices. The sources for data comes from news services, newspapers, websites and personal accounts, not from contributing utilities. I would consider this just a single data point in terms of viewing outage counts, causes, etc. within the United States since it is just a very small subsection of outages that actually occur.
After a few clicks, I was able to download the report. This blog is a summary of the report covering a few items that I found interesting, which are worth mentioning.
The Eaton Report quotes research from a Price Waterhouse study on how power outage disturbances disrupt IT systems. It was fascinating to learn that more than a third of companies take longer than a day to recover from a sustained outage and one in ten take more than a week. The study did not define "recover" but it is logical to assume that this means returning back to normal operations.
The report further quotes a US Department of Energy study that indicates one-third of those same companies loose up to a half million dollars per power failure with IT system disruptions.
The report also lists states with the most reported outages. I would not consider this a valid observation since the list closely coincides with states having the largest population. Among the top 5 states with the most reported outages, California, New York, Texas, Michigan and New Jersey, they rank 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 9th and 11th respectively in terms of population as of the 2010 census. I would think that in general with the lack of lightning and other severe related weather causes, California would actually have a low outage per resident ratio, but this is pure speculation.
Looking at outages by cause, this seems to hold true based on my experience with weather being the number one cause, followed by faulty equipment, unknown causes and animal related issues.
The Eaton report also quotes a TE Connectivity study that notes animal related causes cost utilities between $15-$18 million annually. The majority of animal related causes are specific to small vermin such as squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, etc.
Lastly, the report breaks down the figures by region and by state.
Overall it was a good read and confirms the fact that outages are very costly to business and any efforts to mitigate duration or occurrence help to reduce these costs.