Eaton Unveils 2013 Power Outage Data

Noria news wires

Eaton recently released its Blackout Tracker Annual Report for 2013. For the fifth consecutive year, California topped the list of states with the most power outages, followed by Texas and Michigan. On average, 6,543 people were affected for more than three hours per outage in 2013, and power failures caused problems for people and businesses in all 50 states. The average length of an outage was 86 minutes, resulting in an average cost per incident of approximately $690,200.

When it comes to the cause of unplanned outages, 83 percent of respondents were able to point to a specific source, citing the most frequent root causes as uninterruptible power system (UPS) battery failure (55 percent), UPS capacity exceeded (46 percent) and accidental human error (48 percent). Of those surveyed, 52 percent believe all or most of the unplanned outages could have been prevented.

"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 for Eaton's Power Quality Division. "With electrical power outages, surges and spikes estimated to cost the U.S. economy $150 billion, 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 United States. 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 included:

  • On May 10, a man in Washington's Clallam County 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.
  • On June 7, a runaway trash truck rolled down the street in Naugatuck, Conn., and smashed into a utility pole after the driver exited to take a phone call, damaging the truck and knocking out power.
  • On Dec. 9, wild parrots roosting on an overhead line in Redondo Beach, Calif., 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 per year.

Data for Eaton's annual report is based on reports from news services, newspapers, websites and personal accounts. To download the complete report and track power outages across the United States, visit

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