Blackouts on the rise, Eaton report shows

Tuesday, 04 April, 2017

Blackouts on the rise, Eaton report shows

There were more than 240 power outages affecting three million people in 2016, according to a report by Eaton.

The annual Blackout Tracker Report for Australia and NZ revealed that NSW topped the list of Australian states with 33 power outages, while the North Island topped NZ with 80.

The costs associated with power failures have continued to rise for businesses across the globe. The 2016 Cost of Data Centre Outages report by the Ponemon Institute has found the average cost of a data centre outage in 2015 was a staggering $740,357, up 38% from 2010. 

“Every state or region in ANZ recorded a rise in power outages, highlighting an increasing need for businesses and consumers to look at the power management strategies and disaster recovery plans they have in place to deal with interruptions,” Eaton Industries Managing Director Australia and New Zealand Gordon Makryllos said.

While summer heatwaves dominated discussion about power supply, it was the spring season that produced the most power outages in both Australia and New Zealand with more than one-third occurring between September and November.

“Australia and New Zealand is a diverse, unique climate where almost one in three power outages is caused by bad weather and trees, so businesses and individuals need to plan for the unexpected. Uninterruptible power systems (UPS), generators and power management software solutions can help deliver reliable power during outages, reducing the risk of data loss and costs associated with downtime or IT damage,” Makryllos said.

Among the most unusual causes of power outages in 2016 were:

  • Hayes Creek NT: On 21 October, an olive python snake with a magpie goose in its mouth was found looped over a power line following a 30-minute blackout to the area.
  • Eurobodalla NSW: On 15 April, a flying fox plague caused a large number of safety equipment activations resulting in several blackouts over a period of weeks.
  • Canning Vale WA: On 16 November, the maximum-security Hakea Prison and surrounding areas lost power after an earthing wire was stolen.
  • Bathurst NSW: On 31 November, a flock of birds was blamed for leaving 1573 customers in the dark after they hit a power line, which sparked the outage.
  • Ashburton NZ: On 23 November, a cat was lucky to walk away with its life after a fault man tried to rescue it from a power pole. Instead of climbing down the ladder, the cat climbed higher. The power was cut to help it down safely.

Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across Australia. To view and download the entire report click here.

Image credit: ©Serg Nvns/Dollar Photo Club

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