Blackout culprits: Airplane banner? Bulldozer rage? Bird poop?

For the sixth year, Eaton has compiled data on power outages that caused problems for people and businesses in all 50 states for its Blackout Tracker Annual Report.

Sources of data include: news services, newspapers, websites (including those of newspapers and TV stations) and personal accounts.

In all, 3,236 outages were tabulated and used as the basis for the 2013 report — an increase of some 15 percent from the 2,808 outages covered in 2012.

The reported number of people affected by outages decreased from 25 million in 2012 to more than 14 million in 2013 (however, complete data is often unavailable on certain aspects of reported outages, including the number of people affected and the duration of the blackout).

Top 10 Most Unusual Outages/Causes

1. Anger (mis)management. A Clallam County, Wash., man was so mad at his neighbors that he went on a rampage with a bulldozer May 10, damaging four homes, knocking over a 70-foot pole and cutting power to thousands of people. Investigators were told that the man and his neighbors had a long-running dispute, but it’s not clear over what.

2. On his bucket list? A transit worker stole a bucket truck then drove it through the streets of Queens, N.Y., with its boom extended, knocking down power lines and poles and cutting electricity to thousands of people for six hours.

3. Powerless over poop. The accumulation of waste left by ravens that were nesting in power lines led wires to arc in Kennewick, Wash., and cut power May 31. The incident also sent sparks below, which ignited a blaze.

4. What the hay? A blackout occurred when a hay grinder hit a power line on Iowa Highway 31 near Anthon on March 28. The break caused a fuse to blow in a high-voltage power line, which sent sparks showering into a dry ditch, which then started a small fire. The driver was cited for striking a fixed object on a highway.

5. Lit up, then lights out. A bungling U.K. thief cut power to 1,000 people — and set himself on fire — on May 30. The thief was attempting to steal cable from a power line, which he planned to sell to pay his phone bill. Instead, he set himself on fire after using a screwdriver to try pry out part of the 11,000-watt cable.

6. Internal affair. On Nov. 14, a truck hit a power pole in Charlotte, N.C., knocking a transformer down into nearby trees and cutting power to 500 people. Did we mention this was a utility company truck?

7. A banner approach to advertising. A banner fell off an airplane while it was flying over the San Francisco area and became entangled in power lines, knocking out electricity to 2,000 people on Jan. 26.

8. Bad intent. Claiming that the Mid-South Family Park in Eads, Tenn., had an unpaid bill, a utility worker intentionally pulled the plug on the center’s power supply July 12, knocking out electricity to an inflatable 50-foot water slide — while kids were still on it! The park owner said he told the worker that he had paid his bill and he could call to verify but the worker refused, leading to the dangerous result.

9. Don’t trash talk. A runaway trash truck in Naugatuck, Conn., rolled down the street and smashed into a utility pole after the driver exited to take a phone call. The June 7 crash snapped the pole into pieces, damaging the truck, knocking out power and closing the residential road for hours.

10. Polly want a blackout? Wild parrots that were roosting on an overhead line knocked out power to more than 6,100 Redondo Beach, Calif., customers for three hours Dec. 9. It was unclear whether the birds also were responsible for a subsequent outage in neighboring Hermosa Beach that left 900 in the dark.

Click here for report

Authors

Previous articleIllinois Rural Electric Cooperative picks Tantalus for AMI deployment
Next articleSENER project Gemasolar obtains the DESERTEC 2014 Award

No posts to display