While it may be a stretch to say that life comes to a grinding halt when the lights go out, there's no denying that electricity is the lifeblood of the nation's economy, as everyday transactions and productivity processes require power. Last year, however, millions of Americans had to make due with what they had, according to a newly released report on outages.
Over 3,550 power outages in 2015 stemmed from weather-related events, energy company Briggs & Stratton reported from data compiled by power management firm Eaton. This translated to approximately 13 million Americans who were in the dark for at least some of 2015.
Weather has caused 34 percent of electricity failures this year
The year still has over three months left in it, but 2016 is playing out similarly to its predecessor. Over one-third of the outages so far have stemmed from Mother Nature, Briggs & Stratton reported.
With September being National Preparedness Month, Briggs & Stratton marketing manager Amanda Funk encouraged families, both in the literal and business sense, to prepare now so they can overcome these inconveniences when they develop.
"A power outage can leave families without electricity for hours or even days," Funk warned. "This is a long time for families to be without heat, AC or the ability to cool a refrigerator. Not to mention not having the access to 'luxuries' we've all become accustomed to like Wi-Fi and entertainment streaming devices."
This year's National Preparedness Month theme is "Don't Wait, Communicate," according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Outages are lasting 5 to 10 percent longer per year since 2000."
More intense storms lengthening outages
Power outages can happen for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is when the grid is overused, which can occur in the summer months when temperatures are oppressive. Increasingly, however, they're stemming from weather phenomena. Experts from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University have reported that while the frequency with which outages have taken place has held relatively constant, they're lasting a lot longer than they used to. Berkeley Lab Research Scientist Peter Larsen noted that there's been a 5 to 10 percent increase in the total number of minutes the average outage has lasted each year over the past 13 years.
Utility companies and energy experts point to backup power systems as the best workaround for outages. Traditionally, these systems come as portable models – which are best for homeowners – as well as permanently installed versions, ideal for business owners who require a more reliable, heavy-duty fallback.
A core component of continuity planning is a backup energy source, as virtually every company requires electricity to get tasks accomplished in a time- and cost-efficient manner. But even if entrepreneurs don't have one set up just yet, Continuity Centers has them covered. The experts at Continuity Centers can arrange for systems delivery and energy assistance before, during or after the lights go out so companies can get up and running again in no time.