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5 Common Causes of Power Outages

Serving Families Throughout Clackamas
Electrical outlet.

If you’ve lived in Oregon in the past year, you know that no matter what we do and what precautions are taken, sometimes, the power just goes out. Thanks to the widespread blackouts on the west coast in 2020, extreme heat is one of the better-known causes of power outages: But they aren’t the only common cause.

Here are some of the most common causes of power outages in the United States:

5 Common Causes of Power Outages Infographic

1. Human Error and Public Damage

One major reason for power loss is human error. This can be anything from a mistake made on the planning and infrastructure side of the grid to activity by the public that impacts power equipment. Some examples include:

  • Vehicle accidents and collisions
  • Poorly planned or unsafe digging and construction
  • Balloons from outdoor parties

2. Trees and Vegetation

​Interference from tree limbs and other vegetation is another main cause of power failure and outages. High winds can cause trees and limbs to fall on power lines, bringing those lines to the ground or breaking the lines and poles completely.

3. Animals

One of the most common and most surprising causes of power outages? Animals. Wildlife such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, and more can cause power outages when they climb on or inside equipment. Most electrical equipment comes equipped with automatic shutdowns that can be triggered for safety purposes (such as when animals create contact between components).

4. Weather

Lightning strikes, extreme heat, snowstorms, and wildfires can all cause power outages or create the need for rolling blackouts in our area.

5. Rolling Blackouts or Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and rolling blackouts are two names for the same thing — when the utility company decides to shut power off to a certain area during high-risk conditions. Sometimes these power outages can occur on a smaller scal​e to facilitate planned maintenance on the grid.

As you can see, there are many things that could cause a power outage in our area — some planned and others unplanned. With unplanned or accidental power outages come power surges, which can have a devastating effect on your home and expensive appliances. Contact A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical today to learn how we can help you protect your home with whole-home surge protection! (503) 694-3396