News Release - 2016

Date: 10 March 2016

Eaton’s Blackout Tracker Annual Report Shows 13.2 Million People Affected by More Than 3,500 Power Outages in 2015

Eaton report highlights the disastrous impact of power outages, outlining the significance of reliable backup power for businesses

RALEIGH, N.C. … Power management company Eaton today announced the release of its Blackout Tracker Annual Report for 2015. For the seventh consecutive year, California topped the list of states with the most power outages, followed by Texas and New York. Over 3,714 people were affected for over 49 minutes per outage in 2015 and power failures created difficulties for individuals and businesses in all 50 states.

“Downtime has the ability to cause damage and loss of revenue in a matter of minutes. The Blackout Tracker Annual Report illustrates the scope of power outages across the country and their ever-increasing business impact,” said Mike DeCamp, senior marketing communications manager, Eaton’s Power Quality Division. “The data and trends outlined in this year’s report underscore the importance of a comprehensive power protection plan and considering the best power backup solutions to avoid downtime and interruptions in business.”

Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across the U.S. and is organized into three sections: an introduction to power outages and the impact of downtime, an overview of national power outage data, and power outage data by state. Overall, 3,571 reported outages were used as the basis for the 2015 report. Do note, complete data is often unavailable on certain aspects of reported outages, including the number of people affected and the duration of the blackout.

Eaton’s annual report also features “top” outage lists, including the most significant reported outages, largest data center outages and the most unusual causes for outages.

Among the most unusual causes of power outages in 2015 include:

  • Wapiti, Wyoming: On March 31, a Canadian goose took a wrong turn and flew into a power line and knocked out electricity to 664 customers for three hours. A witness who was driving described seeing a flock of geese overhead, then a sudden bright light flashed and one fell out of the sky.
  • West Hollywood, California: On October 26, a man flew a drone into power lines causing a power outage for over 627 customers, including various businesses. The fire department even had to close two westbound lanes of Sunset Boulevard due to the incident.
  • Gastonia, North Carolina: On September 3, a 26-year-old woman was driving a car when she ran off the road and struck a power pole. Police revealed that the woman dropped her lit cigarette and was trying to pick it up off the floor when she crossed the center line and veered of the road. As a result, about 4,000 residents lost electricity for an hour.

According to federal databases at the Department of Energy and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the U.S. suffers more blackouts than any other developed nation. Although power failures are common due to weather and unforeseen events, uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions are designed to deliver reliable power during outages.

Eaton has tracked power outage information since February 16, 2008, to educate consumers about the causes and impact of outages. Eaton provides a robust portfolio of power management solutions for data centers and other mission-critical facilities to avoid downtime, including UPSs, power distribution products, data center services, power management software, IT rack systems and data center air containment solutions, as well as medium and low voltage switchgear.

Data for the annual report is based on reports from news services, newspapers, websites (including those of newspapers and TV stations) and personal accounts. To download the entire annual report and track power outages across the U.S., please visit www.eaton.com/blackouttracker. To learn about Eaton’s line of power quality products and services, visit www.eaton.com/powerquality.

Eaton’s electrical business is a global leader with expertise in power distribution and circuit protection; backup power protection; control and automation; lighting and security; structural solutions and wiring devices; solutions for harsh and hazardous environments; and engineering services. Eaton is positioned through its global solutions to answer today’s most critical electrical power management challenges.

Eaton is a power management company with 2015 sales of $20.9 billion. Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton has approximately 97,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit www.eaton.com.

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