What Are The Most Common Causes Of Power Outages?

Dominating the headlines over this weekend in December is that Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport, the world’s busiest airport has completely lost power and as of this writing – remains in the dark. The question that the utility has been slow to answer is why. Initial reports were that a construction crew hit a major underground power line, but as the day went on reports started to come in that the cause was an underground fire at a major substation that serves the airport. Whatever the cause, the outage has completely crippled the airport with thousands of flights being cancelled, grounded or diverted. While an outage crippling a major airport is rare, blackouts are quite regular in general. Let’s review the most common causes.

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One of the most common misconceptions on why a storm will knock out power is that the outage comes from lightning striking the lines or poles. This does happen quite commonly, but most lightning strikes will not affect your power whatsoever as the lines have a few good protections built in to prevent this. Mostly in the way of lightning arrestors and special grounding at the poles to carry the current harmlessly to the ground. But storms do knock out power due to one main culprit – trees. Conditions brought on by storms such as high winds, ice, and yes even lightning knock down branches or even whole trees that fall and knock down distribution lines. This is the cause of most storm related outages.


While storms and wind are the number one cause of electrical outages, our furry friends can certainly hold their own. Over one thousand outages can happen yearly due animal related failures. In fact, 11 percent of all outages are caused by squirrels. These critters teethe just like infants do and find insulation surrounding power lines irresistible. Other reasons for animal related failure is that many electrical devices and enclosures are warm and during the winter make an inviting nesting spot. If the animal then meets the wrong circuit – boom – you have an outage!

Human Error and Overload

When it comes to general chaos that can causes power outages, the human factor is a big one. Car accidents involving the vehicle hitting a utility pole, people digging in the wrong spot and hitting underground lines, or even during hot months too many air conditioners running at once and loading down the lines are all known causes of widespread black-outs.

If a sudden outages damages any of your equipment we are here to help! Be sure to visit us online at gesrepair.com or call us at 1-877-249-1701 to learn more about our services. We’re proud to offer Surplus, Complete Repair and Maintenance on all types of Industrial Electronics, Servo Motors, AC and DC Motors, Hydraulics and Pneumatics. Please subscribe to our YouTube page and Like Us on Facebook! Thank you!

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