U.S. Residents Averaged Fewer Power Outages in 2022

WASHINGTON - In 2022, U.S. electricity consumers on average experienced about 5.5 hours of power disruptions, a decrease from nearly two hours compared to 2021. This information comes from the latest Annual Electric Power Industry Report. The reduction in yearly power interruptions primarily resulted from fewer significant events in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Since 2013, excluding major events, the annual average duration of power interruptions has consistently hovered around two hours. Factors contributing to major power disruptions include weather-related incidents, vegetation interference near power lines, and specific utility practices. To assess the reliability of U.S. electric utilities, two key indexes are utilized:

  • The System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) calculates the total length (in hours) an average customer endures non-brief power interruptions over a year.
  • The System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) tracks the number of times interruptions occur.

The influence of major events on electrical reliability is gauged by comparing affected states' SAIDI and SAIFI values against the U.S. average, which was 5.6 hours of outages and 1.4 outages per customer in 2022. The year witnessed 18 weather-related disasters in the U.S., each resulting in over $1 billion in damages. Noteworthy major events include:

  • Hurricane Ian in September 2022, leaving over 2.6 million Floridian customers without electricity, some for more than two weeks.
  • Hurricane Nicole in November 2022, causing over 300,000 Florida customers to lose power.
  • Winter Storm Elliott in December 2022, affecting over 1.5 million customers in multiple states including Texas and Florida, and bringing up to four feet of snow in parts of New York.

In 2022, states like Florida, West Virginia, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire experienced the most prolonged power interruptions, with New Hampshire averaging 10.3 hours and Florida 19.1 hours. Conversely, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Iowa had the shortest total interruptions, with the District of Columbia averaging just 34 minutes and Iowa 85 minutes.

The frequency of outages, unlike their duration, is more often linked to non-major events. Across the nation, Alaska recorded the highest number of power disruptions per customer (averaging 3.5), followed by several heavily forested states like Tennessee and Maine. Power outages due to falling tree branches are common, particularly during winter storms that burden tree limbs and power lines. The District of Columbia stood out with the shortest and fewest outages per customer.


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