Underscoring the critical need for disaster recovery planning for businesses across the U.S., Eaton has announced the release of its Blackout Tracker Annual Report for 2016. This year’s report found that nearly 18 million people were affected by 3,879 outages lasting over 48 minutes per power outage on average. And while California topped the list of states with the most power outages for the eighth consecutive year, power failures impacted individuals and businesses in all 50 states.

“The Blackout Tracker Annual Report shows how prevalent and dangerous power outages can be across the country, causing widespread damage and costing businesses millions,” said Mike DeCamp, senior marketing communications manager, Power Quality Division, Eaton. “As the data illustrates, the threat of power issues is ever-present, making it more important than ever to have a disaster recovery plan that includes reliable power protection.”

Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across the U.S. and is organized into three sections: an introduction to power outages and the impact of downtime, an overview of national power outage data, and power outage data by state. Eaton’s Blackout Tracker report features “top” outage lists, including the most significant reported outages, largest data center outages and the most unusual causes for outages.

Among the most unusual causes of power outages in 2016:

  • Sanford, Florida: On March 16, a carjacking gone wrong caused a driver to crash into a power pole and resulted in an outage for local residents.

  • New Britain, Connecticut: On April 21, a crane fell over onto power lines — causing a blackout to 1,444 people.

  • Chicago, Illinois: On August 3, Firefighters responded to reports of smoke in the Gurnee suburb and were surprised to find the culprit was a lawn mower. The motored device apparently knocked over an electrical box, shorting out some wires and causing a small outage.

The costs associated with power failures has continued to rise. Although power failures are common due to weather and unforeseen events, uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions are designed to deliver reliable power during outages so data centers stay up-and-running.

Eaton has tracked power outage information since February 16, 2008. Data for the report is taken from broadcast news reports, newspapers, websites (including those of newspapers and TV stations) and personal accounts.

To download the entire report and track power outages across the U.S., visit www.eaton.com/blackouttracker.