Whether you live right in the middle of a bustling city or on the outskirts of the outback, it’s safe to say that most of us will experience some form of power outage at some point during our lives.
But whether it’s outdated infrastructure, bad weather, or even accidental causes that leave us scrabbling around in the dark trying to find our phone torch, there are certainly some areas of Australia and the United States that get it worse than others.
So, to find out just who suffers the most from power outages overall, the energy experts at Compare the Market have analysed a variety of historical data and modern search data for electrical disturbances across the US and Australia’s Ausgrid network in recent years. The higher the disturbance, the worse the area ranked for power outages.
Here’s what we found.
The US states with the most power outages
Turning to America first, it should come as no surprise that several of the southern states of the continental US suffer the most when it comes to regular power outages. This is in no small part due to the extreme weather experienced in these areas, with freak snowstorms, flooding, and regular hurricanes all contributing to damaged power lines.
However, no US state seems to get it worse than Texas. With 86,700 searches for power outages in 2022, the Lone Star state suffered a total of 191 electrical disturbances from 2020-22, with 91 coming in 2021 alone, likely due to the severe storms experienced that year. As a result, the last 3 years have seen an 8.33% increase in total power outages.
Following on from Texas, we have California. No stranger to bad weather, California made 98,300 online searches for power outages in 2022, which was more than Texas. What’s more, the state has suffered 167 outages over the last 3 years. Of those, 69 occurred in 2022, compared to 42 in 2021, which might explain the 23.21% increase in outages overall.
Moving to the farther north for third place, Washington state is next on our list, boasting a much lower number of outages at just 83 from 2020-22. Unfortunately, this is an increase on previous years, with 31 disturbances in 2022 compared to 25 and 27 in 2020 and 2021 respectively, for a total percentage increase of a full 24%.
But with all that being said, it seems not all states on our list are looking at increasingly common power outages. In fact, despite coming fourth with 58 electrical disturbances overall, Louisiana actually saw a decrease of 33.33% in its power outages. This is due in large part to the differences in number of power outages between 2021 and 2022, which dropped from 28 to 12.
Finally, in fifth place, we have Kansas, which saw an increase of 16.67% in power outages over the last 3 years. With a surprisingly low volume of power outage searches online at just 630 in 2022, Kansas residents experienced an outage high of 23 in 2021 dropping to 14 in 2022.
The cities with the most power outages across Australia’s Ausgrid network
So, we know where in the US to avoid if you don’t want to have to deal with regular power outages, but what about in Australia? Well, if you live in New South Wales and rely on the Ausgrid network, then we have some bad news for you.
Outages experienced across the state vary in cause, from equipment faults to environmental influences, but unfortunately, some areas endure them more often than others.
By far the worst city for power outages across the Ausgrid network turned out to be Gosford, with a grand total of 442 power cuts since 2020. And while this has only resulted in a 0.69% increase overall, the fact Gosford experienced 145 outages in 2020, 151 in 2021, and 146 in 2022, likely indicates that this isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Following on from Gosford, we have Wyong, which suffered 379 total power outages in the last three years, with 133 in 2020 and 131 in 2022. While the city did see a slight drop to 115 in 2021, which is likely the reason for its 1.5% decrease in outages in the last 3 years, the fact that in 2022 this number ticked back up suggests this might have been an anomaly.
As for third place, we have the city of Bankstown, which actually saw an impressive 44.17% decrease in power cuts between 2020 and 2022, for an overall total of 341. Despite having a high of 163 outages in 2020, substantial drops to 87 and 91 in the years following show that infrastructure in this area may be undergoing improvements.
Our fourth-position city also follows the trend of decreasing power cuts, with Hornsby seeing a 7.63% drop with 332 cuts. However, like Wyong, Hornsby also saw a drop from 118 in 2020 to 105 in 2021 but saw it climb back up to 109 in 2022, due to various factors affecting this city’s power supply, such as environmental influences or equipment malfunctions.
Finally, in fifth, we have Lake Macquarie, which saw 313 cuts in the last 3 years for an overall decrease of 15.2%. Much like several of our other cities, Lake Macquarie saw high outages of 125 in 2020, which dropped to 82 in 2021 before rising back up to 106 in 2022, which seems to show a running trend in the unpredictability of power outages.
When discussing the results of the research, Meredith O’Brien, Head of Energy at Compare the Market, had these insights on the topic:“In the unfortunate event that you experience a power outage, it’s important to know who to contact – your distributor. Their contact details can be found on the front page of your bill, under the section called ‘faults’, ‘emergencies’ or ‘power outages’.
“While we can’t always control the weather, familiarising yourself with this information could assist you during an outage, if you notice physical damage to electrical poles and wires, or if you smell or hear a gas leak. Additionally, familiarising yourself with your bill in such a way could help you to adopt good habits so you can compare and save when researching and comparing various energy plans.”
So, if you’re ready to compare energy prices, start using our energy comparison service today to learn more about switching from your current energy plan or provider.
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