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EIA Releases Service Interruption Data for 2020

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. electricity customers experienced just over eight hours of electric service interruptions in 2020, the most since EIA began collecting electricity reliability data in 2013.

The average U.S. electricity customer experienced nearly 20 more minutes of power interruptions in 2020 than in 2017, the year with the second-longest duration of interruptions in EIA’s records. When major events are excluded, the average duration of all interruptions US. electricity customers experienced in 2020 was around two hours.

While other utilities were dealing with more power outages, Carroll Electric actually experienced its overall best service reliability since its inception.

  • The average Carroll Electric customer experienced only 1 hour and 49 minutes of total service interruptions in 2020.  That's 6.19 hours less than what the U.S. average electricity customer experienced in 2020. 
  • When major events are excluded, the average duration of all service interruptions Carroll Electric customers experienced in 2020 was only 58 minutes. 

Both numbers are pretty remarkable considering there were a total of 8,784 hours available during 2020. 

Electricity customers in the District of Columbia, Arizona, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota had the shortest total time of electricity interruptions in 2020, ranging from 44 minutes in the District of Columbia to 101 minutes in South Dakota.

Customers in Alabama, Iowa, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Louisiana experienced the most time with interrupted power in 2020, ranging from almost 29 hours in Alabama to 60 hours in Louisiana. The long interruptions were largely because of major weather events. The United States experienced 14 hurricanes in 2020 and 11 major storms, making for an extremely disruptive Atlantic weather season.

Different factors cause power interruptions, including weather, vegetation patterns, and utility practices. Utilities can report interruption duration values with major events (including snowstorms, wildfires, and hurricanes), without major events, or both.

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