Did you know that the US is experiencing more power outages than any other developed country?
Do you know how much money you’ll lose without power during an unexpected outage? How much product will have to be discarded and how much time will be lost?
Power outages are only going to worsen as infrastructure ages further and we place more demand on the grids. The problem is that utility companies are for-profit organizations, and “while customers may prioritize reliable power requiring expensive new equipment… companies might push replacements off as long as they can” (Chrobak, 2020.)
The majority of today’s grid was built 70 years ago with a 50-year life expectancy. This grid was built with growing demand anticipated; therefore, it was overbuilt. Now, our current system is reaching capacity and the 70-year-old equipment is flickering out.
Experts say that an aged power grid, climate change, and an ever-increasing demand for electricity will create the perfect recipe for larger and more recurrent outages across the United States in coming years. In fact, they have already begun.
The planned outages by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in Northern California in October of 2019 were a pre-emptive measure intended to protect upwards of 800,000 residents from wildfire threats during a period of strong winds.
But what about the unplanned outages? “Research by Climate Central, a nonpartisan organization that produces reports on climate science, indicates that blackouts brought on by storms, droughts, floods and wildfires—hallmarks of the warming planet—have doubled since 2003” (Dodge, 2019.) Severe weather coupled with human-induced heating of the earth’s temperature has been widely linked to these ongoing issues.
This brings us back to the issue of utility companies being for-profit organizations. “What we’ve seen time and time again is that utilities effectively charge ratepayers for maintenance and then delay that maintenance. And instead, they prioritize shareholder dividends.” (Chrobak, 2020.) Numerous sources have reported that earlier this year, PG&E pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter following regulators finding that the 2018 Camp Fire was caused by their poorly maintained equipment.
With performing basic maintenance being a struggle, things will only continue to worsen in years to come. “The Atlantic Ocean may see double a ‘normal’ year’s worth of hurricanes this year, and our extra hot summer could fuel intense blazes in the West (Colorado is already on fire, with over 125,000 acres burning as of Monday); in an August 1 fire outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center found high fire potential in the Great Basin, California, Pacific Northwest, and northern Rockies” (Chrobak, 2020.)
It is extremely likely that your business will soon feel the impact of a power outage. It’s crucial that you have a plan in place for your business as these outages become more and more common.
We can help you build that plan.
Written by Bailey Mutschler – Marketing Associate, 2NSystems.