More than 240 power outages in Australia last year

Three million people were affected by more than 240 power outages in 2016, according to a new report.

Eaton’s annual Blackout Tracker Report for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) revealed New South Wales topped the list for the third year in a row with 33 power outages.

“Every state or region in ANZ recorded a rise in power outages, highlighting an increasing need for businesses and consumers to look at the power management strategies and disaster recovery plans they have in place to deal with interruptions,” Eaton managing director Gordon Makryllos said.

While summer heatwaves dominated discussion about power supply, it was the spring season that produced the most power outages in both Australia and New Zealand with more than one third occurring between September and November.

“Australia and New Zealand is a diverse, unique climate where almost one in three power outages is caused by bad weather and trees, so businesses and individuals need to plan for the unexpected,” Mr Makryllos said.

“Uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions can help deliver reliable power during outages – reducing the risk of data loss and costs associated with downtime or IT damage.”

The costs associated with power failures has continued to rise for businesses across the globe.

The 2016 Cost of Data Centre Outages report by the Ponemon Institute has found the average cost of a data centre outage in 2015 was a staggering $740,357 – up 38 per cent from 2010. The report highlighted some of the most unusual causes of power outages in 2016, including:

  • Hayes Creek, NT: On October 21, an olive python snake with a magpie goose in its mouth was found looped over a power line following a 30-minute blackout to the area.
  • Eurobodalla, NSW: On April 15, a flying fox plague caused a large number of safety equipment activations resulting in several blackouts over a period of weeks.
  • Canning Vale, WA: On November 16, the maximum security Hakea Prison and surrounding areas lost power after an earthing wire was stolen.
  • Bathurst, NSW: On November 31, a flock of birds was blamed for leaving 1573 customers in the dark after they hit a power line, which sparked the outage.
  • Ashburton, NZ: On November 23, a cat was lucky to walk away with its life after a fault man tried to rescue it from a power pole. Instead of climbing down the ladder, the cat climbed higher. The power was cut to help it down safely.

Blackout Tracker Annual Report data is based on a full year of reported power outages across Australia.