36.7 Million Affected by Power Outages in 2017, Per Eaton Study

By Matt Kraus | Mar 26, 2018
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For 10 years, power-management company Eaton has been tracking power outages in the United States and compiling their findings into the Blackout Tracker Annual Report. The company recently released its report on 2017, and the numbers show that power outages still have a tremendous impact on homes and businesses throughout the country.

In 2017, 36.7 million people were affected by 3,526 reported power outages, according to the report. While the number of outages represents a slight decrease from 2016, the number of people affected actually skyrocketed—this is more than twice the 17.9 million that were affected in 2016. The average power outage in 2017 lasted approximately 81 minutes.

Data was collected from all 50 states for the Blackout Tracker report. For the ninth consecutive year, California had the highest number of reported power outages by a considerable margin, with 438. The No. 2 state, Texas, had 192 outages. Vermont had the fewest number of outages, with 11 reported.

The Blackout Tracker gathers its data from news services, newspapers, websites, personal accounts and more. The report states that complete data is not always available for some outages, but the tracker aims to be as comprehensive as possible.

Ultimately, the report illustrates just how prevalent power outages and interruptions still are and the impact they can have on both people and businesses.

“The Blackout Tracker Annual Report shows the scope and severity of power outages across the country, leading to widespread damage and significant consequences for business,” said Mike DeCamp, senior marketing communications manager, Eaton’s power quality division. “With the number of people affected by pervasive electrical power outages, surges and spikes continuing to rise each year, it’s more critical than ever to develop a disaster recovery plan with reliable power protection to avoid detrimental downtime.”

The report also spotlights some of the more unusual power outages seen in 2017. For example, in Felton, Del., a truck carrying a load of chickens caused a power outage—along with considerable traffic difficulties—following a crash that released the entire flock. Sixty residents were affected for around two hours.

Eaton’s Blackout Tracker annual report can be downloaded here.

About The Author

Matthew Kraus was formerly the director of communications at NECA and senior editor of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR for five years. He can be reached at [email protected].

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