Blackouts open 2016 with a powerful punch

Posted by Melissa Tamberg on February 9, 2016

When blackouts made their New Year’s resolutions, it’s clear their vows didn’t include cutting back on the rate of occurrences — with 343 incidents logged by Eaton’s Blackout Tracker in January. In all, 1,234,873 people were left in the dark for a collective 291 hours (roughly 12 days). Here, we unveil some of the most surprising, disruptive and widespread outages:

Outage makes one area shake, rattle and roll

Power outages deservedly get a bad rap for causing a lot of turmoil — from equipment damage to steep financial losses to interrupting the Super Bowl and World Series games. But now blackouts are coming under fire for setting off …. earthquakes?

Oklahoma state regulators believe that an intense swarm of earthquakes that rattled the state in January could be tied to a single storm-induced outage that led to disposal wells turning back on at one time.

In a letter to well operators, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said the seismic events “appear to have a very close correlation to the storms that created power outages … It is believed that the power outage may have created a situation where a number of producing wells were shut in, then simultaneously came back on line,” the letter states.

Oil & Gas Conservation Division staff found data that indicates a potential correlation among power outages at the disposal well sites, sudden resumption of disposal well operations, and the earthquakes, a spokesman revealed.  “Because we have been told by experts that sudden changes in the pressure in seismically active areas pose a potential risk of inducing earthquakes, it is important that operators know of this data, as well, and why OGCD is recommending gradual start-ups after power failures,” he said.

Blizzard takes historic bite out of power supply

Mother Nature may have gotten off the hook for the earthquakes, but she couldn’t escape the blame for a historic blizzard that blasted the East Coast Jan. 22-23. In all, approximately 103 million people were affected by the storm, with 33 million people under blizzard warnings. The full day of sleet and freezing rain coated roads, downed trees and power lines, and left hundreds of thousands of residents without power. More than 13,000 flights were cancelled in relation to the storm, with effects rippling internationally.

In New York, the lights of Broadway went dark, while train service was halted in Washington D.C. and a travel ban was instituted for New York City and Newark, New Jersey. Thousands of National Guardsmen were placed on standby and states deployed millions of gallons of brine and thousands of tons of road salt to lessen the effects of the storm, which was deemed Winter Storm Jonas and Snowzilla.

Power outage clips airline’s wings

A Jan. 14 power failure at a Verizon data center knocked out JetBlue's digital infrastructure and web site for several hours, leaving customers unable to book flights and make changes online. No cause was disclosed for the blackout, which disrupted travel plans for the airline's customers nationwide.

JetBlue said that while flights still departed, many were delayed or canceled, and patrons had trouble accessing both its website and mobile app. Some consumers shared scenes of long lines at JetBlue desks social media, revealing that they had difficulty checking in for flights and printing boarding passes.

Now available for free download: The 2015 Annual Report

Tags:  Power Loss

Posted in: News


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