News Releases - 2019

Date: 26 March 2019

Eaton’s annual Blackout Tracker Report reveals more than 1.1 million people affected by power outages in 2018

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. Power management company Eaton today released its annual Blackout Tracker Report for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), which revealed more than 1.1 million people were affected by 167 power outages in 2018.

Storms, cyclones and heat waves had a substantial impact with 40 percent of all power outages caused by weather or falling trees. One storm in Brisbane recorded 265,000 lightning bolts and high winds which left 130,000 people without power. While in Auckland, a category two cyclone left more than a quarter of Auckland homes without power.

Overall power outages decreased by 49 percent, with New South Wales reporting the biggest reduction of any state or territory. It is the first time in four years that the number of power outages and people affected has decreased.

Gordon Makryllos, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at Eaton Industries said while the decrease in power outages is a positive sign, the unpredictability of blackouts serves as an important reminder for business owners and managers to ensure disaster recovery plans are in place and aligned with the current IT environment.

“Digitalisation is rapidly transforming the business landscape and increasing power dependency – from applications that support digital transformation, right through to intelligent infrastructure for smarter control and energy efficiency. This is expected to increase with the roll-out of 5G across the region, so power reliability and availability is critical to operations and automation of data,” said Makryllos.

“Mother nature can strike anytime, anywhere – disrupting power to businesses and homes. To avoid costly downtime and data loss, it is critical that disaster recovery plans and backup power systems are in place and regularly reviewed.

“Security is also increasingly important during a power disruption, with uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) needed to ensure internal devices are protected against threats that might target their networks. UPS can improve power system reliability by notifying administrators of potential issues and enabling the orderly, graceful shutdown of servers and data storage during a power outage.”

Among the most interesting power outages in 2018 included:

  • Adelaide, SA: Dancers and audience members were plunged into darkness during the second half of a Sleeping Beauty performance by the Australian Ballet. About 2,000 patrons had to be evacuated by torchlight from the theatre after a rat crawled inside an 11,000-volt piece of equipment and blew a fuse.
  • Masterton, North Island: Geese that took off from their nesting spot in a dam just before daybreak took a direct flight path into power lines — causing them to arc and cut power not once, not twice, but three times in five days. Experts believe that fog played a role in the large Canadian immigrants flying into the lines.
  • Melbourne, VIC: A share bike was hurled from a footbridge cut power and caused more than $300,000 worth of damage. Someone threw the oBike at a Melbourne train but the bike hit the overhead power lines, causing an outage.
  • Queenstown, South Island: A paraglider who crashed into a power line managed to free himself and had left the scene by the time emergency crews arrived. While the power lines were still intact following the incident, 889 customers lost electricity for 30 minutes.
  • Rotorua, North Island: More than 500 bolts of lightning were detected from a storm that lasted just over an hour. The sky’s electric show cut power to nearly 1,450 homes.
  • As World Backup Day approaches on 31 March, Eaton is offering a complimentary consultation and Critical Power Site Audit to all Australian and New Zealand businesses that will assess the business’ vulnerability to power disruption. The consultation will provide recommendations on the steps that can be taken to minimise downtime. To register for this complimentary service, click here.

    Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across Australia and New Zealand. To view and download the entire report click here. To learn about Eaton’s power management products and services, visit: www.powerquality.eaton.com or www.eatoncorp.com.au.

    About Eaton
    Eaton is a power management company with 2018 sales of $21.6 billion. We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 99,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries.

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