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Economic impact of severe blackouts could cost billions of pounds

Electrical blackouts could cost the UK economy billions of pounds and with the number of incidents on the rise, organisations are being warned not to underestimate the threat to supply. These are just some of the conclusions from Eaton’s latest annual Blackout Tracker UK Report that provides a comprehensive overview of power outages in 2014 and their potentially disastrous effects.

Now in its fifth year, the Blackout Tracker UK Report is a vital resource for those concerned about this issue.

Steven Spicer, PQ channel sales manager at Eaton said:

“The 2014 edition contains a wealth of information including the most significant and unusual reported outages, as well as the impact that emerging threats such as drones pose to power supply continuity. It also features a detailed geographical breakdown of reported outages and their causes by country and region.”

EP3791 -  Blackout Tracker infographic summary[9]The report reveals that there were 537 reported power outages in 2014, compared with 505 in 2013, 246 in 2012 and 241 in 2011. The most common reasons for disruption were faulty equipment and human error but animals knocking over electricity power lines, vehicle accidents, weather, theft and vandalism were also responsible. The scale of the problem is immense and a staggering 1,059,472 people were affected by outages that lasted an average of 67 minutes each.

With more businesses than ever relying on the Internet and their IT network infrastructures, a blackout of just a few minutes can have serious financial repercussions. Last year, Avaya polled 702 IT professionals in organisations with 250 or more employees across eight European companies, and found that 77 percent had experienced a loss of revenue as a result of outages.

The Blackout Tracker report also highlights the precarious position of the UK’s electricity generating capacity. The UK’s energy regulator, Ofgem, remains concerned about the National Grid’s ability to meet demand in upcoming winters, as energy capacity declines due to the closure of ageing power stations and consumers using more electricity. It has estimated that in the expected low point of winter 2015-16, the capacity margin could be as low as two percent.

Spicer concluded:

“The findings contained in the Blackout Tracker UK Annual Report 2014 confirm that this problem is unlikely to go away any time soon. I hope that this information will act as an incentive for organisations to take preventive measures and ensure they have a reliable power infrastructure solution that can protect against costly and potentially devastating power failures. It is only by doing so that business continuity can be maintained and any disruption minimised.”

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