10 U.S. states with the longest power outages

Most families have experienced a power outage at one point or another. Meanwhile, some families live in states that experience the longest power outages. 

Every state in the U.S. experienced a power outage in 2019. This is according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Electric Power Industry Report. On average, we went without power and electricity for 4.7 hours throughout the year. Meanwhile, residents of the following 10 states experienced the longest power outages.

States with the longest power outages

States with the longest power outages

Power outages in Maine

Maine residents experienced an average of over 15 hours of power outage. Winter storms with strong winds and heavy precipitation were key reasons for power outages in Maine. For example, the nor'easter in October 2019 alone left over 200,000 Mainers without electricity. A combination of heavily forested areas and high winds also often cause power outages in Maine. Unfortunately, Maine has been the state with the longest power outages three of the last four years.

Power outages in West Virginia

West Virginia residents experienced a power outage an average of over 12 hours. The state is also frequently ranked year over year among the top five states with the longest power outages. Severe weather is the common cause of power outages in West Virginia. Ice storms and deep freezing often leaves residents of West Virginia without electricity. 

Power outages in California

California residents experienced an average of over 10 hours without  power. California is a new entrant to the top section of states with the longest power outages list. Wildfires and associated planned power outages have been primary reasons for long power outages in California. Nearly 1 million customers were without power during one instance of a planned power outage. You can read more what is planned power outage and preparation tips

Power outages in Michigan 

Michigan residents experienced an average power outage of over nine hours. There was not a single large weather event that caused a significant power outage in Michigan. Instead, frequent severe weather events throughout the year kept causing power outages. These included the ice storm in February, thunderstorms in July and September, and high winds in November.   

Power outages in Louisiana

Louisiana residents experienced an average power outage of over eight hours. It is not surprising to have Louisiana towards the top of the states with the longest power outages list. Hurricane season often causes power outages in Louisiana. Moreover, we are experiencing increased activity during hurricane seasons in recent years. This often results in increased duration of power outages. 

Power outages in Vermont 

Vermont residents experienced an average of eight hours without power. Forests and snow, two things most of us imagine when we think of Vermont. Vermont gets lots of snow, more than 80 inches per year to be accurate. Vermont is also one of the most heavily forested states. A combination of dense forests and heavy snowfall makes falling tree limbs a key reason for power outages. 

Power outages in Arkansas 

Arkansas residents experienced an average power outage of over seven hours. Severe weather came in the form of heavy storms in the state. Two rounds of storms made it even worse for the residents and the local utility company, Entergy, to recover from extended power outages. 

Power outages in Mississippi

Mississippi residents experienced an average of over seven hours without power. There was not a single major event that caused the lengthy outage. Instead, a range of weather events throughout the year caused frequent outages. These included stormy weather in August, Tropical Storm Olga in October and gusty winds in November.

Power outages in Wisconsin 

Wisconsin residents experienced an average of over six hours without power outage. A mix of severe weather events throughout the year caused this power outage duration. These severe weather events included storms and heatwaves in the summer, and high winds and heavy snowfall in the winter. Many families even stayed in the dark during Thanksgiving. 

Power outages in South Carolina 

South Carolina residents experienced an average power outage of over five hours. Hurricane Dorian was one key reason for this extended power outage duration. The hurricane left more than 270,000 residents in the dark as it travelled up coast. 

States with the shortest power outages

Residents in seven states experienced an average of less than two hours without power a year. Here are the states and the average annual duration of time without power:

  • Illinois: Just under two hours of power outage a year; 116 minutes. 
  • Delaware: 102 minutes of power outage a year.
  • Florida: 89 minutes of power outage a year.
  • Nevada: 87 minutes of power outage a year.
  • Arizona: 83 minutes of power outage a year.
  • Nebraska: 79 minutes of power outage a year.
  • District of Columbia: Just a little over an hour of power outage; 77 minutes a year.

Florida is the one state that is surprising to see on the shortest power outage times list. Florida often ranks towards the top of states with the longest power outages. The is primarily due to the hurricanes impacting the state. In 2019, Florida was able to manage these severe weather events and minimize the length of power outages.

Check out how long is the power outage are in each state if you are interested in power outages in other states. You can also read about the linkage between weather events, disasters and power outages in your state.

Preparing for a power outage is key in protecting your family and home. Consider purchasing a home generator. This ensures vital medical equipment and appliances like sump pumps and refrigerators stay on during a power outage. A home generator can provide backup power in case of an unexpected or planned power outage. Cummins home generators are extremely quiet, aesthetically pleasing and remotely accessible.

Information is power

Join for weather preparation and power outage tips, offers and promotions, new product offerings, and remote monitoring software updates.

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Home Generator Safety Checklist

Home Generator Safety Tips - Cummins

Follow these home generator safety tips when preparing your home and family for long-term power outages.

With a little more than one month left on the already tumultuous Atlantic hurricane season, not to mention the likelihood of severe winter storms on the horizon, now is the time for power outage preparation

Preparing for long term outages is important, and if you have already taken the step to ensure continuous emergency power by purchasing a generator, consider the steps you need to take to safely operate a backup home generator. 

The biggest risk of home generators is carbon monoxide (CO) gas. It is called “the silent killer” because it is odorless and colorless, meaning that most people inhaling it don’t even realize until it is too late. Symptoms of CO poisoning can look a lot like the flu, and in severe cases, it can cause permanent brain damage or death. CO can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated.

Here are a few tips for keeping your family safe while operating a generator during your next power outage.

Portable Gas or Diesel Generators Safety Tips:

  1. Always follow manufacturer instructions when setting up a generator.
  2. Never use a generator inside your home or garage. They should be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas that are at least 20 feet away from any homes or dwellings.
  3. Look for any places air can enter the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off. This includes windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents or crawl spaces.
  4. Reliable, approved, and operable battery powered CO detector alarms should be installed in proper locations on each floor in the home as specified by the manufacturer. 
  5. Give the generator a break that allows for any concentrated exhaust to clear away from the area. Open your windows and doors during this break to air out any concentration that may have collected in your home.
  6. Ensure that your generator is being appropriately maintained, including regular oil changes. 

Permanently Installed Gas or Diesel Generators Safety Tips:

  1. Install the generator outdoors only.  Work with a professional installer (link to https://cummins.tech/tj1e6z) to locate the generator away from windows, doors, and other openings to the house where exhaust gases will disperse away from the house or occupied areas.
  2. Install all parts of the generator enclosure at least 60 inches from any openings in walls of structures that may be occupied.  Examples of wall openings include, but are not limited to, operable windows, doors, dryer vents, fresh air intakes for heaters, etc.
  3. Look for any places air can enter the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off. This includes, but not limited to, windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents or crawl spaces. Your generator must be located such that exhaust gases are not able to accumulate in an occupied area.
  4. Ensure that generators are used, maintained, and operated in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. If there is a concern that the installation standards have not been met, get an appropriate party, like the installer, out to inspect it.
  5. Give the generator a break that allows for any concentrated exhaust to clear away from the area. Open your windows and doors during this break to air out any concentration that may have collected in your home.
  6. Check the exhaust system for corrosion, obstruction, and leaks every time you start the generator and every eight hours when run continuously.
  7. Ensure that your generator is being appropriately maintained, including regular oil changes.
  8. Reliable, approved, and operable battery powered CO detector alarms should be installed in proper locations on each floor in the home as specified by the manufacturer.

Cummins home generators are extremely quiet, aesthetically pleasing and remotely accessible. If you have not yet taken the step to purchase a backup generator, consider scheduling a painless home assessment with your nearest Cummins dealer. In just a few minutes you can know exactly how little the ultimate peace of mind can cost.
 

Catherine Morgenstern - Cummins Inc.

Catherine Morgenstern

Catherine Morgenstern is a Brand Journalist for Cummins, covering topics such as alternative propulsion, digitalization, manufacturing innovation, autonomy, sustainability, and workplace trends. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, holding leadership positions most recently within the Industrial Capital Goods sector.

Catherine began her career as a marketing writer for a biotechnology company, where she learned to take complicated and highly technical information and make it accessible to everyone. She believes the concept of “storytelling” is more than a trendy buzzword and loves to find ways for her readers to make personal connections to her subjects. Catherine has a passion for technology and innovation and how its intersection can make an impact in all our lives.

Catherine recently moved back to her hometown in the Hudson Valley, New York after a several decades in Los Angeles and Chicago. She is a graduate of UCLA and enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband and three children.

Components of Microgrids

Microgrids are technology marvels. Check out the different components that come together under a microgrid.

Utility grids and microgrids have a lot in common. Both serve the same function—to provide electrical power to consumers. Both are subject to the same constraints—ensuring that electrical generation and electric load are equal at all times. Their components, however, are different. 

Microgrids are at a much smaller scale than utility grids and as a result include components that are accordingly scaled down. 

Here are the main components of a microgrid:

Electricity generation resources within microgrids

The beating heart of a microgrid consists of a set of electricity generation resources. Typical generation resources found in microgrids include diesel and/or natural gas generators, solar arrays and wind turbines.

The most basic microgrids are usually built around one or more diesel generators. When natural gas is available, gas generators are also among the options available. Older island microgrids, for example, are based on a small power plant consisting of a few diesel engines coupled to alternators. Generators are the default choice to power a microgrid because they can cover a wide range of loads and because they can be used as backup power. They start quickly, are responsive to changes in load, and can operate on a variety of fuels. 

Fuel cell technology is emerging as a valid option to provide on-demand power on microgrids. Fuel cells can run on natural gas, hydrogen and other less common fuels. Although their cost remains too high to be widely used, hydrogen fuel cells are seen as a potential source of small-scale CO2-free electricity.

Typical components of an island microgrid
Click the image to take a closer look at microgrid components

Intermittent energy resources within microgrids

The cost of solar panels has become so low that, in some regions, their installation on homes and businesses is a no-brainer. University campuses, industrial facilities and others equipped with a microgrid can install solar arrays in large numbers, thus achieving significant savings on their energy bills. In fact, many build a microgrid specifically to be able to better integrate and take advantage of their solar resources. 

Energy storage within microgrids

Many homeowners sometimes choose to supplement their home photovoltaic installation with a battery pack. Likewise, many microgrid owners incorporate battery energy storage in their system. With the price of lithium-ion batteries at an all-time low, the benefits of adding an energy storage resource often justify the additional cost. 

For one, battery energy storage systems provide a service known as “time-shifting”. Time-shifting batteries collect extra electricity from an oversized solar system during the day, and then discharge the battery after the sun has set to meet overnight load demands. Similarly, batteries can be discharged at times when the solar array output does not match the load requirements such as short periods of peak demand. This allows the owner to maximize the use of intermittent resources.

Another benefit of battery systems is their ability to instantly respond to changes in electricity demand on the microgrid. Having a battery serve as standby capacity is often much more cost-effective than idling an extra generator 24/7 in case demand increases unexpectedly. Think of energy storage as the fat on the microgrid where energy is stored.

Load management within microgrids

Some microgrid owners have the option to actively manage electricity demand in the same way that they manage electricity generation. 

By default, when a large electric machine starts up somewhere on the microgrid, the generators supplying the microgrid need to quickly ramp up to meet the additional demand. Microgrids that actively manage demand have another option. They can decrease demand somewhere else on the microgrid, for example by switching off a building’s AC temporarily. The result is that demand and generation are again balanced out without increasing generation.

Control and communications within microgrids

Microgrids need a brain and a nervous system to operate safely and effectively, thus needing to possess sophisticated microgrid control systems

Wide-area utility grids serve millions of consumers and have a considerable amount of inertia, limiting the potential for fast, uncontrolled changes. Microgrids, in contrast, include fewer loads and resources and are more sensitive to variations in load and generation. Starting up several large electrical machines without the assurance that an equivalent amount of generation is available is a sure way to crash the microgrid. 

A microgrid’s control system typically includes multiple controllers and sensors distributed over its territory. A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is also required to collect data and distribute instructions. 

If the SCADA system is the nervous system of the microgrid, then the energy management software is the brain; that software can be highly sophisticated. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine-learning features allow modern energy management software to learn to better anticipate load from the consumers on the microgrid and generation from renewable assets, to optimize the system to run in the most cost-effective way. Maximizing the use of renewable resources, minimizing fossil fuel costs and maintaining the reliability of the equipment and the microgrid, all while dispatching the load, is all taken care of by the energy management software, within the parameters specified by the owner of the microgrid.

Switchgears, inverters and other equipment

Finally, microgrids include other critical components such as electrical cables, circuit breakers, transformers and more. These components are the bones, muscles and blood vessels of a microgrid. They connect generation resources to consumers, and allow the microgrid’s control system to effect changes to the state of the microgrid.

Automatic transfer switches, for instance, isolate different generation assets to ensure that, for example, the AC inverter associated with a solar array does not feed electricity to a diesel generator. Inverters convert the DC power supplied by batteries or by solar panels to AC power that is adequately synchronized to other AC resources on the microgrid. 

Interested in more on microgrids? You might also like: 

Raise Your Energy IQ

Grow professionally with energy trends and insights delivered to your inbox. Read about energy technologies and trends on our Energy IQ Hub.

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.