Power outages like the one in Texas are becoming more and more common. Outages are more frequent in spring and fall, as well as summer and winter, suggesting that more than just weather is to blame for this surge in blackouts. Knowing the causes of power outages can help you better prepare. Here are the top 5 reasons the power goes out.
The most common reason for widespread power outages is severe weather like snow and ice storms, heat waves and high winds and rain. Extreme cold and extreme heat can damage the electrical grid. Heavy rains can lead to flooding and mudslides.
Earthquakes, wildfires, floods and mudslides, lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions can knock down power lines, damage transformers and destroy substations, leading to power outages.
Accidents near power lines.
A car or truck colliding into a utility pole can bring down power lines and equipment. Trees -- either from high winds or just old and aging -- can bring down utility poles and wires.
The equipment that delivers power to customers can be faulty, break or wear out with age and exposure to extreme weather. Transformers can fail, insulators can break, and wires can snap. When the equipment stops working, the power will go out.
High energy demand.
When too many people draw too much power in a given area at the same time, a blackout can occur. For instance, during a heat wave when everyone is running their air conditioner, excessive demand can overload the system and cause it to go down.