Massachusetts had 10th most power outages in US last year, study finds

Boston, MA--6/9/2013--Work is done in the Scotia Street power station, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, after an early-morning outage affected the Back Bay. Photos by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 10power Reporter: Colin A. Young and Alyssa A. Botelho
Work was done at a power station in the Back Bay last summer after an outage affected the Boston neighborhood.
(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Massachusetts had the 10th most reported power outages in the US last year, according to state-by-state data compiled by power management company Eaton Corporation.

The 2013 Blackout Tracker Annual Report found that there were 98 reported outages in Massachusetts up from 74 outages the prior year.

Outages last year affected a total of 453,048 people for a combined duration of 4,748 minutes, or nearly 80 hours, the recently-released report said. The average outage affected about 8,500 people for about 3.6 hours.

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More than one-third of the outages in the state last year were the result of faulty equipment or human error, according to the report.

The next most prevalent cause was “unknown,” which accounted for about a quarter of all outages.

Weather and falling trees caused about 20 percent of the outages in Massachusetts, while vehicle accidents caused about 10 percent.

About five percent were planned outages, and three percent were caused by animals.

California had the most outages of any state last year at 464, followed by Texas at 159 and Michigan at 144.

Across the country, there were 3,236 reported outages, which represented an increase of about 15 percent from the prior year, the report found. But, the number of people impacted by outages went down, from 25 million in 2012 to 14 million last year.

“However,” the company said, “complete data is often unavailable on certain aspects of reported outages, including the number of people affected and the duration of the blackout.”

The company said electrical power outages, surges and spikes cost the US economy an estimated $150 billion a year in damages.