Surge of power outages in Australasia
Power management company Eaton Blackout Tracker Annual Report for New Zealand and Australia shows Eaton’s annual Blackout Tracker Report reveals a 27 percent surge in power outages affecting more than 1.7 million people in 2017.
New Zealand blackouts increased by 36 percent, with the North Island faced with widespread snowstorms, a big scrub fire and Cyclone Cook, while across the Tasman overall power outages increased by 19 percent, with Queensland overtaking New South Wales as the top blackout state after Cyclone Debbie caused devastation along the east coast in March.
Gordon Makryllos, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at Eaton Industries said while the total number of people affected by power outages almost halved in 2017, businesses and individuals should still be wary as there was a higher frequency of small-scale blackouts and the average duration of outages increased by 39 percent.
“With almost three out of four blackouts caused by weather, falling trees, faulty equipment or human error – it is clear that many power outages are unexpected and often unavoidable, which serves as a timely reminder for businesses to review their power backup and disaster recovery plans to ensure IT systems and data are protected in the event of a power disruption.”
In Australia, an EMC Global Data Protection Index that surveyed
125 Australian companies found the average organisation experiences approximately three days of unexpected downtime per year, with data loss and other consequences totalling around AUD70 billion. The survey also showed that the majority of respondents not fully confident in their ability to recover after disruption.
“In the current era of digital connectivity and data dependency, the cost of power outages can be significant for any business – in particular those that have data collection technology in locations where recovery processes are complex and hard to reach. To reduce the risk of data loss, downtime and increased costs, it is important to have uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions that can deliver backup power during outages.”
UNUSUAL OUTAGES AND CAUSES IN NEW ZEALAND INCLUDED:
Adding fuel to the fire, Feb. 15 – Christchurch: Widespread power outages resulted after smoke or flames from fires caused a Transpower 220 kV line to trip. Some 89,000 customers were left without electricity for 30 minutes.
A power employee’s ‘Oops’, March 2 – Christchurch: A utility supply representative said it “strongly suspected” that maintenance work near Trizel inadvertently led to a power cut that left 60,000 customers in the dark.
Too many Cooks, April 13 – Hawke’s Bay: Cyclone Cook caused landslips and brought down trees and power lines across much of the North Island, cutting power to 13,000 homes and businesses — a few hundred of which were in the dark for two and a half days.
In the line of fire, Feb. 5 – Ruakaka: A three- hectare scrub fire led to a blackout for 30,000 customers after flames erupted under a main feeder line.
Crash course, Jul 29 – Whanganui: A nine- day-long blackout resulted after a vehicle hit a power pole, snapping it off at the bottom. The force of the crash cut the power cable to a house and pulled the power connection from under the eaves, resulting in the lengthy outage.
Cutting it too fine, Aug 7 – Hawke’s Bay: Power was cut to 5,000 when a contractor accidently drove his roadside lawn mower into a wire fence – causing it to spring up and hit power lines.
Hitting the skids, Oct 12 – Kerikeri: A ‘boy racer’ doing skids caused a six- hour power outage to 700 customers, fleeing on foot after his car demolished a power pole.
Interesting outages in Australia were caused by an ‘unidentified critter’ that managed to make its way into a substation and, despite protective devices being installed on equipment, managed to out 18,000 customers for 150 minutes; a fault on the Gold Coast that left people stranded on multiple rides at Movie World for 10 minutes; a Townsville outage to 1200 customers at the start of the NRL Grand Final and a further 2000 affected in Brisbane the same night due to a ‘rogue animal’.
Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across Australia and New Zealand.
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