These days, manufacturing is inextricably linked to the power grid. Many manufacturing processes are now automated using increasingly complex software programs and robotic machines that rely on a constant supply of electricity. So when a blackout occurs, more than just the lights go out in a typical factory. Outages can amount to critical failure and gobs of lost revenue for all stakeholders involved.
At MRO Electric, we wanted to find out which U.S. states experience the most and least power outages and electrical downtime. To accomplish that, we collected and analyzed the latest electrical reliability data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Specifically, we pulled the average annual frequency and duration of power outages per customer for each U.S. state from 2015 through 2019. Read on to see what we found.
The U.S. States with the Most and Least Power Outages
Maine saw the highest average number of power outages at nearly four per year. This is significantly higher than the runner up, West Virginia, which experienced an average of 2.8 outages per year. Within the other eight states with the most outages, customers could expect an average of around 2 blackouts each year.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia suffered the fewest outages at an average of 0.7 per year. Wisconsin, Utah, and Massachusetts averaged 0.8 outages annually, Arizona had an average of one per year, and the other five states on the list all tied for an annual average of 1.1 outages.
But the number of power outages only tells half of the story. For a comprehensive picture of electrical reliability, we also looked into the average duration of outages in every state.
The U.S. States with the Most and Least Electrical Downtime
Interestingly, Maine not only experienced the highest average number of outages per year but also held the second most average annual downtime in the country. According to our calculations, downtime in Maine averaged 14.1 hours, beaten only by Florida’s 14.6 hours. Mississippi and Oklahoma show up on both lists as well, making them poor overall contenders for electrical reliability.
On the flip side, the District of Columbia receives top marks yet again with just an hour and a half of downtime on average—while still a significant number in the manufacturing world, it only represents 10% of the agonizing downtime experienced by factories that are affected by the average Floridian blackout.
Use the interactive map below to view the full data set for every U.S. state.
Impact of Major Event Days on Electrical Reliability
Major event days are defined as any day where outage metrics exceed normal averages. While these can sometimes be attributed to hackers, cyber attacks, and other anomalies, they are usually caused by severe weather patterns like hurricanes and blizzards.
However, these troublesome outliers are fairly rare and don’t do much to increase the average number of outages by state. In Maine, consistently ahead of the pack in terms of number and duration of outages, major events only cause 0.7 additional outages per year on average. That brings Maine’s overall average to 3.9 outages per year.
The same can’t be said for duration, though. Surprisingly, major event days cause a whopping 9 hours of additional average downtime in Maine each year. The resulting 14.5 hours is over 150% more than the 5.5 hours of downtime recorded when major events are not considered.
Considering the ten states with the most downtime overall, major events are culpable for as little as 3.6 hours and as much as 12 hours of average annual downtime. In Florida, the average downtime including major events is more than 580% longer than when major events are excluded. Needless to say, when major event days occur, they make a huge difference in terms of how long it takes to get the power back on.
The automation of manufacturing tasks has untold benefits in efficiency and output. The automotive industry, for instance, makes use of robotics for many tasks including welding, painting, and even hauling heavy parts to build more cars in less time. And yet, relying on these impressive technologies means that when you don’t have electricity, you don’t have production.
You may not be able to up and move your factories to one of the states with the least power outages, but you can always rely on MRO Electric to provide a vast array of quality remanufactured and new parts, along with quality repairs to your automation machinery. With MRO Electric, when the power comes back on, you’ll be ready for business.