What Causes Power Outages?

When the power goes out, the first thing that many people experience is panic. Because electricity has become so integral and crucial to modern America’s livelihood, it’s hard to react and stay calm when there is no electricity. 

Just in the first few minutes of your morning, you will probably use at least three electric items, such as your phone (what you’re maybe using to read this blog right now), an alarm clock, light switch, coffee maker, the list can go on. But it’s true: power is essential to our lives, and this makes a power outage a scary thing, especially if you don’t know what caused it. That’s what we’re going to explore in this blog: why do power outages happen? (Even though you hopefully won’t have to experience one anytime soon.)

Power Outage

First, let’s make sure we have the same understanding of what exactly is a power outage. This occurs when electricity, especially the electrical power network (or “grid”) is nonexistent. It’s important to note that this doesn’t just happen for a single home, but rather an entire area or region. This is because an outage stems from a supplier of electricity. 

So, if your home is ever without power but your neighbors still appear to have their lights on, then there is likely an issue with a circuit breaker in your home. If this is the case, you can contact our team at Wiring Pros for a repair to quickly get your house back and running. 

Power Outage Causes

Natural causes. More often than not, a power outage is a result of something outside of human control. This can be:

  • A storm
    • Lightning can strike a transmission tower, poles, or other electrical equipment that supply a region.
    • Snow and ice can damage electrical equipment during severe temperatures.
  • Trees
    • During high winds, a tree often will fall and tear down a power line or pole. 
    • Tree trimming by untrained professionals can cause fallen limbs to cause a power outage. This is why it’s best to hire tree removal experts. 
  • Animals
    • Although equipment is continuously improved to be animal-proof and there are barriers to electrical equipment, some small animals, especially squirrels, can cross barriers or affect towers and poles. 

People. Whether from user error, accidents, or high demand, people certainly can sometimes be problematic for power. More specifically these causes are: 

  • Vehicle accidents
    • The next frequent cause behind power outages behind fallen trees is accidents to electrical poles or transformers. 
  • Other human error
    • This can be an error on an electrical company’s fault or from excavation digging that can sometimes penetrate a crucial underground cable. 
  • High demand
    • An overload of power during high demand, typically a heat wave where people excessively use air conditioning can make electrical equipment fail. This is particularly growing of interest and concern as highly-populated areas, like Los Angeles and New York City, are issuing warnings for residents to try to not use AC, even in the wake of continuously excruciatingly hot summer days. A result of this can be rolling blackouts, which are planned power outages implemented when an infrastructure (such as LA or NYC) cannot service its current population at a certain time. In case you couldn’t guess, California leads the country in power outages by a large margin, and Texas is second, with New York at third. 

Most power outages will never last more than a few hours at most (some even ending minutes after occurring). But there have been cases where a blackout can last several weeks

Call Your Electrician! 

Power outages are becoming less frequent in terms of natural disasters and human error. Technology is improving to prevent quick short circuits to electrical equipment that causes a power outage. But, a growing fear is the demand that will continue to increase in areas where the population still increases as well. The demand for power, specifically air conditioning, isn’t likely to decrease in the near future. 

If you’re looking for improvements or repairs to your home or business, feel free to contact the experts at Wiring Pros. With more than 25 years of combined experience in Phoenix, Wiring Pros is committed to exceptional work, knowledgeable services, and elite professionalism. 

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