Study shows extreme weather events are the main cause of increased power outages

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A study by nonprofit research group Climate Central says that extreme weather events are the main cause of increased power outages.

As extreme weather and high temperatures continue, the country’s energy infrastructure is being tested and the demand for electricity is heightened.

North Carolina was fourth on the list for most reported power outages since 2000.

“Disruptions in our electrical grid impact millions of people every year, putting our health and safety in jeopardy, so investments and making a more resilient grid system are critical,” Climate Central Meteorologist Lauren Casey said.

The extreme weather events that caused the major power outages consisted of drought-fueled wildfires, tornados, and hurricanes, many of which were intensified by warmer temperatures. For one Eastern Carolina city, preparing for inclement weather is a challenge and necessity.

“We are in a hurricane-prone region. It’s a challenge that we have to deal with,” Jonathan Russell, Washington City Manager said. “I think we make every effort possible for our line crews to be prepared for that.”

As the country’s energy infrastructure gets older and more vulnerable due to such weather conditions, prioritizing proper training and providing reliable power is vital.

“It’s a continual challenge. It’s something we want to provide safe: reliable, and affordable power,” Russell said. “We have a great staff of line workers that are on call 24/7 so when we do have an outage, if it’s from just a summer storm or hurricane, we have staff on standby to answer the call.”

Hardening the grid is one way to put an end to many of these power outages.

“There needs to be a lot of investment by utility companies, by stakeholders in hardening the grid, and making it more resilient,” Casey said.

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