Common Causes of Power Outages

By North Central Electric,

  Filed under: Uncategorized
  Comments: None

power outage causesPower outages are becoming increasingly common and can occur at any time and any place. When an object comes into contact with a power line, the flow of electricity is interrupted, causing an automatic shut-off. An outage can affect a few homes or an entire city for hours or even days. While there is little you can do to prevent an outage, especially if it is weather related, investing in a backup generator can ensure your home or business stays up and running during an emergency. 

What Causes Power Outages?  

Power outages generally fall into three main categories, depending on severity, including:

  • Permanent fault – Caused by a fault on the power line. Often results in just a brief flickering of the lights.
  • Brownout – A drop in voltage that can cause lights to dim. 
  • Blackout – The most severe type of outage. Blackouts result in an unexpected and complete loss of power. 

If you’re wondering why these breakdowns occur, the experts at NCE are sharing what causes a power outage and what you can do to be prepared. 

Severe Weather and Natural Disasters

Extreme weather conditions such as high winds, snow, flooding, ice, and lightning can all cause a power outage. During a hurricane or tropical storm, strong winds can cause power lines to sway, resulting in a fault or short circuit. Powerful winds can also blow branches or trees over, breaking power lines. Lightning is another common power outage culprit. If electrical equipment gets hit by lightning during a storm, the power will be cut.

Blizzards and snow also pose a threat to your power. During a snowstorm, ice and snow can build up on power lines, causing them to sag or break. Heavy snow and ice can also damage trees and limbs, causing them to fall onto power lines and disrupt the power supply. The best way to ensure the power stays on during extreme weather is to purchase a backup generator. When the generator detects an outage, the engine starts automatically and restores power to your property less than thirty seconds after the outage began. 

Equipment Failures

Like any other kind of mechanical equipment, electrical components that bring power to customers can be faulty or break from regular wear and tear. Transformers can fail, insulators can corrode, insulation can crack, and wires can snap. These interruptions can all trigger a power failure. At NCE, we ensure your equipment is rigorously tested and maintained to ensure you never have to worry about power failure at your facility. 

Human Error

Power lines are everywhere, and it’s not uncommon for a traffic accident to take out a utility pole. If the pole is damaged or knocked over, a power outage can occur, usually affecting only a few homes or businesses served by that power line. Similarly, construction work can disrupt power. Construction equipment can knock down utility poles, and excavators and landscapers can cut underground power lines. 

Planned Power Outages 

Occasionally, a utility company will intentionally interrupt service to perform routine maintenance or repair work on the power equipment. Planned outages protect workers from electrical shock and are usually scheduled for the least inconvenient times and only last about an hour. Your electricity provider does its best to give you plenty of warning. 

How NCE Can Help Your Organization

At NCE, we are a full-spectrum electrical contracting company, providing facilities with industrial testing programs, maintenance, engineering, commissioning, and project management. We use only the best tools, like power quality analyzers, to identify issues with your power quality to ensure your lights always stay on. Don’t get left in the dark. Contact our team at (215) 945 7632 for a free consultation.