Blackout Watch

System Power Outages

by Troy Linkugel, USA

Analysis of system power outages can help us learn and avoid similar events in the future. If you have information on any blackouts, please e-mail to:

Hatteras & Ocracoke Islands, North Carolina, USA
27 Jule 2017

A complete blackout struck the islands of Hatteras and Ocracoke in the Outer Banks. It eventually took work crews a full week to restore power after a construction company accidentally drove a steel pylon through two power transmission lines while constructing a bridge. The incident forced the areas roughly 5,000 residents and several thousand tourists to be evacuated due to the lack of power. The outage came at the height of the summer tourist season, so many local businesses were devastated by the economic losses. Before power had even been restored, many were already planning to sue the construction company for damages related to their negligence.
Taipei, Taiwan
15 August 2017
The heavily industrialized island suffered a massive blackout that affected nearly seven million households and small businesses. The outage had a limited impact on larger, industrial businesses; including some of the leading technology manufacturers in the world, who reported minimal disruption. The power outage was caused by a human error at gas supplier CPC Corporation. Six generators at the Datan Power Plant in Taoyuan developed a fault due to a sudden halt in the supply of natural gas, which resulted in a drop of four million Kilowatts of electricity. Lasting five to six hours, it was the worst blackout to hit Taiwan since the Jiji earthquake in 1999. Three days after the outage, the chairman of the state-owned CPC Corp resigned, stating in the future the company would need to work on ensuring routine protection and maintenance work was implemented according to plan.

Lihue, Hawaii, USA
10 September 2017

A trip in the system at the Kapaia station knocked out power for residents across the island of Kauai twice in a day. The first outage happened at 10:30am local time, with the island without power for about 80 minutes before it was restored. About an hour later, the power went out again, this time lasting about 40 minutes. Roughly 30,000 customers were impacted across the island.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
20 September 2017
The island of Puerto Rico was hit by the high-end Category 4 Hurricane Maria, causing catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis. After being hit by Hurricane Irma only two weeks prior, nearly 80,000 residents were already without power as Maria approached. After the storm had passed, the islands? power grid was essentially destroyed, leaving millions without electricity. One month after the storm, roughly 3 million people, nearly 88% of the population, were still without power. This marks the largest blackout in U.S. history in terms of the total number of lost hours of electricity. So far, the total loss exceeds 1.25 billion hours of supply and is expected to continue to grow as workers struggle to bring power back to the island.

Sydney, Australia
26 September 2017

Nearly 40,000 residents of Sydney?s Inner West area were without power after an explosion and fire at the Canterbury electricity substation. Authorities say a faulty circuit breaker led to the explosion and a massive flash of light that was seen by residents throughout the city. The power went out at about 10:35pm local time and was restored around 1:00am.
Gold Coast, Australia
24 October 2017

A major blackout struck this seaside area after 3pm. More than 62,000 homes and businesses lost power when an unexpected equipment failure sparked a 30-minute outage. Powerlink Queensland confirmed that maintenance work was being conducted at their substation in nearby Mudgeeraba when the system failed.
Reykjavik, Iceland
05 November 2017
A rare lightning storm wreaked havoc across Iceland. The typically cooler climate makes thunder and lightning quite rare, however the overnight storm led to multiple strikes that damaged the power distribution system. One strike hit Sudurnesjal√≠na near the capital at about 9pm that led to a total blackout in the area for over 40,000 residents, along with Keflavik?s International Airport. Another around 11pm struck a transformer in the south at Hafnarfjordur, which knocked out the lights in several towns.        

Time and location of the System & Power Disturbances in 2017.

Analysis of system power outages can help us learn and avoid similar events in the future. If you have information on any blackouts, please e-mail to:

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