Over the Last 5 Years, Texas Tops List for Most Power Outages

Since 2019, Texas has encountered a total of 263 power outages, with an average duration of 160 minutes, affecting approximately 172,000 residents. Specifically, during the severe winter storm in 2021, there were 47 instances of power loss.

Texas, renowned as the nation’s energy hub, unsurprisingly leads in various energy-related aspects. However, one unfortunate distinction is its record in power outages across the United States over the past five years.

According to an analysis conducted by electricity retailer Payless Power, Texas has experienced 263 power outages since 2019, surpassing all other states. On average, these outages lasted approximately 160 minutes, impacting around 172,000 Texans per incident. California ranked second with 221 outages recorded from 2019 to 2023, followed by Washington in third place with 118 outages. Adi Sachdeva, a data researcher at Payless Power, compiled the report utilizing data from the Department of Energy.

In the last five years, Texas experienced over a third of its power outages in 2021, notably during a severe freeze around Valentine’s Day, which resulted in the tragic loss of at least 210 lives. February 2021 alone saw 47 outages, contributing to a total of 91 across the state that year. This underscores a troubling paradox: Texas, a top energy producer in the nation, grapples with frequent power grid failures due to its aging infrastructure, causing frustration among residents.

Massive outages like the one during the 2021 freeze, which the Electric Reliability Council of Texas initiated to manage electricity demand, are infrequent. Typically, Texans encounter localized outages due to power line damage, particularly in the Houston area, where CenterPoint Energy owns the lines.

According to Bob Marshall, CEO of Whisker Labs, a company specializing in sensors to prevent home electrical fires and monitor local grids, the Texas power grid ranks poorly for grid malfunctions. These malfunctions, as detected by Whisker Labs sensors, can stem from various sources such as failing utility poles, wire interactions, or vegetation interference.

Marshall noted that the CenterPoint grid faces significant challenges compared to other utilities not only in Texas but nationwide. He highlighted that Houston experiences the highest number of power outages in the country, surpassing other regions by a considerable margin.

Power outages and disasters like wildfires are posing increased threats to utilities due to the aging infrastructure of the nation’s power grid, which was largely established over 50 years ago. This strain is exacerbated by rising electricity demand and the intensification of extreme weather events. Sachdeva’s analysis at Payless Power confirmed this trend, showing a 93 percent increase in outages nationwide from 2019 to 2023 compared to the preceding five years.

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