Report finds outages caused by bees, chickens, sailboats

While California topped the list of states with the most interruptions for the ninth consecutive year, power failures impacted individuals and businesses in all 50 states

Mar 27th, 2018
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Eaton's Blackout Tracker Annual Report for 2017 found that in 2017 nearly 27 million people were affected by 3,526 blackouts lasting an average of 81 minutes per power outage.

While California topped the list of states with the most interruptions for the ninth consecutive year, power failures impacted individuals and businesses in all 50 states.

Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across the U.S. and is organized into three sections: an introduction to power outages and the impact of downtime, an overview of national power outage data, and power outage data by state. Eaton’s Blackout Tracker report 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 2017:

· Bradford, Illinois: On June 11, a tree branch, rotted from beehives and honeycombs inside, broke off and landed on power lines. Crews had to find a way to remove the state-protected insects without harming them and were forced to wait for the arrival of state agency employees.

· Grand Haven Township, Michigan: On Sept. 19, a sailboat’s mast hit an overhead wire in a swampy area on the Lost Channel, catching fire and resulting in a 75-minute blackout.

· Felton, Delaware: On Dec. 12, a tractor-trailer truck carrying a load of chickens cut electricity to area residents and snarled traffic after the flock escaped.

The costs associated with power failures have continued to rise. Although power failures are commonly due to weather and unforeseen events, uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions are designed to deliver reliable power during outages so data centers stay up-and-running.

Eaton has tracked power outage information since Feb. 16, 2008. Data for the report is taken from broadcast news reports, newspapers, websites (including those of newspapers and TV stations) and personal accounts.

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