Power Outages Spread as Historic Heatwave Continues

Well, at least we had a lovely spring.

If only it hadn't morphed into what we've had to endure these past couple of months—one of the hottest summers ever.

Unfortunately, like all major heatwaves, this one is causing a lot of problems besides mere sweat and discomfort.

For older folks and those with severe medical conditions,  excessive heat can be deadly.

In fact, when temperatures remain persistently high as they've done this summer, even people in good health can suffer life-threatening consequences if they're not careful.

Then there are the power outages, which—like extraordinarily high temps—are fast becoming a regular feature of the American summer.

Power outages

This summer's unrelenting heat caused power outages that left over 300,000 people in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana without power for days.

In Mississippi, some residents suffered through blackouts that were longer than what they were forced to endure back in 2015 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Arizona residents have been lucky so far. The lights have stayed on this summer, despite Phoenix setting a new record for electricity consumption.

Breaking that record wasn't surprising, though, since Phoenix also broke a major heat record as well— residents had to endure a jaw-dropping 31 straight days of temperatures reaching 110 degrees or higher.

For perspective,  the previous record was set way back in 1974—that's almost 50 years ago—when residents experienced a mere 18 consecutive days of temps at 110 degrees or higher

Increased frequency

Unfortunately, grid disruptions in the US have been getting worse for a while. So this summer doesn't appear to be an outlier.

A study released by Scientific American just last month found that, between 2013 and 2021, the average duration of a power outage in the US grew from around 3.5 hours to more than seven hours.

But it isn't just that power outages are getting longer. They've also started occurring more often. According to the same Scientific American study, the frequency of power outages increased from 1.2 to 1.42 events per customer each year.

More regions affected

Aside from lasting longer and becoming more common,  summer blackouts also seem to be affecting more regions. 38 states have already experienced power outages just this year alone.

Texas has had the most blackouts so far—suffering through 109 power outages, the longest of which affected 360,000 customers for over six days.

Second through fifth place in this year's blackout sweepstakes went to Michigan, California, Louisiana, and Washington state, respectively.

But 2023 isn't over yet. Nor is the oppressive summer heat it's brought upon us.

So other states are still contenders for this most unwelcome honor.

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