With the constant threat of severe storms, losing power is an inconvenience homeowners and businesses alike can expect. Tropical Storm Risk predicts hurricane activity in the North Atlantic this year could be 50% above the last 50-year norm. Understanding which states are most affected by power outages can help residents better prepare when their electricity fails.
At MRO Electric, we wanted to determine which U.S. states are most at risk of power outages. To find out, we analyzed data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to determine the average frequency and duration of power outages in each state. Specifically, we used outage data from their annual reports for the last five years (2018-2022). Keep reading to see how your state stacks up.
The U.S. States with the Most and Least Power Outages
With the most annual power outages, Maine is surely left in the dark. The Pine Tree State tops the list with an average of 4.35 power outages every year, a stark increase above the national average of 1.62 per year.
Given that severe weather can lead to outages, it is no surprise that Louisiana is ranked third on our list. According to the National Hurricane Center and USAFacts, Louisiana is one of the most hurricane and tornado-prone states, and with about 2.78 power outages a year, it is not hard to see what is causing these blackouts.
Mississippi, with the most annual tornadoes on average, and Florida, the most hurricane-prone state, also suffer from outages with 2.25 and 2.18 outages per year on average, respectively. The South, with its frequent severe storms, was the region with the most power outages on average and these states certainly contributed. Comparatively, the South experiences about 1.97 power outages a year, the Northeast encounters about 1.64, the West has about 1.50 on average, and the Midwest comes in last with about 1.31 power outages in a year.
The District of Columbia suffered the least from power outages, with about 0.47 per year on average. Utah and Wisconsin are close second and third with 0.60 and 0.75 annual outages, respectively.
Another factor that should be considered when determining the severity of a power outage is how long the outage lasts. Now, let’s take a look at which states had the longest and shortest power outage durations.
The U.S. States with the Longest & Shortest Power Outages
As mentioned earlier, Louisiana is a hurricane and tornado-prone state. This may be why Louisiana has the longest average annual power outages of any state, with an annual average of more than a full day without power (24 hours and 54 minutes), which is four times the national average of 6 hours. Following Louisiana, Maine, with the most average annual outages, also had some of the longest outages lasting up to nearly 16 hours.
Once again, D.C. fares well in terms of outages and has the shortest average annual power outage duration at only an hour of no power on average, which is just a fraction of what Louisiana suffers. Delaware (1 hour and 42 minutes) and Utah (1 hour and 54 minutes) follow, with an average power outage duration of less than two hours. To see more averages of power outage duration, see the map above.
Let’s Shed Some More Light on the Matter…
When evaluating frequency and duration patterns of power outages, major event days (MED), are occurrences that are factored in and necessary for understanding the severity of each. 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.
To take a closer look at these power outage metrics across the country, hover over each state in the interactive map below. Find out what you can expect for where you call home.
With the uncertainty of power grid reliability by state in inclement weather, access to quality repairs on weather-damaged parts or new parts is essential. MRO Electric ensures that power outages do not hinder progress by providing experienced service in repairs and same-day delivery of industrial automation supplies.
To determine which U.S. states are most at risk of power outages, we analyzed data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to find out the average frequency and duration of power outages in each state. We used outage data from their annual reports for the last five years (2018-2022). We collected the average duration (SAIDI) and frequency (SAIFI) of outages in each state per year. Then, we aggregated the data into 5-year averages for each state.
We included major event days (MEDs) data in the calculations to ensure we included the most accurate average duration and length of outages per year. A common example of a MED is a serious weather event. Hawaii could not be included in this list due to insufficient data for 2022 and 2021.
Updated on January 22, 2024 by Leanna Cota