STACKER – An aging power infrastructure and a growing climate crisis have left U.S. residents increasingly in the dark. Traditionally, power outages are caused by singular disruptions—a car rams into a pole, equipment fails, or a tree falls onto a power line. These incidents usually affect small areas for short periods. However, as the changing climate spurs more natural disasters, power outages also become more frequent and severe.
Stacker analyzed data from the Department of Energy to identify the states that have experienced the most power outages since the start of 2021. Data was available through June 2021, so it does not include more recent natural disasters like Hurricane Ida. These states do share one severe weather incident: the arctic blast that caused record low temperatures across 48 states in February 2021.
Read on to find out how many power outages your state has experienced this year, or check out the top 15 here.
Missouri by the numbers
– Total electric disturbance events (2021): 9
— Most common cause: severe weather
– Total electric disturbance events (2020): 3
— Most common cause: system operations
Severe thunderstorms in June 2021 cut off power to 38,000 Missouri residents. A week later, some Missourians experienced two power outages within 24 hours due to a faulty underground cable. And at the end of the same month, a storm flooded areas of Jefferson City, downing multiple power lines.
These outages are life-threatening in more ways than one. Power outages leave residents without air conditioning or heating, making them susceptible to heatstroke or hypothermia. Furthermore, improper use of alternative energy sources like grills or gas-powered generators can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
During an outage, hospitals resort to contingency plans to power only the most vital equipment. Accessibility is hindered as motorized stairlifts and elevators stop functioning. Prolonged power outages also disrupt the food supply chain. Factories pause or halt production, warehouses stop loading trucks, and stores lose perishable food.
Keep reading to see which states had the most and least power outages this year.
States with the most power outages in the last year
#1. Texas: 66 total electric disturbance events (2021)
#2. Louisiana: 19 total electric disturbance events (2021)
#3. California: 15 total electric disturbance events (2021)
States with the least power outages in the last year
#1. West Virginia: 1 total electric disturbance events (2021)
#2. Virginia: 1 total electric disturbance events (2021)
#3. Tennessee: 1 total electric disturbance events (2021)