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Winter Power Outages Creating Havoc Across The U.S.

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winter power outages

Winter power outages are an unfortunate fact of life for many Americans. Utility crews are working long hours to restore power. (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Robert Killips)

Winter power outages are more common and more destructive than many folks believe. In fact, the economic impact of winter power outages is staggering.

Many of us have been witnessing the ice-induced carnage over the last few days. Winter storm Harper and now winter storm “Indra” have downed countless trees and power lines, causing mass blackouts across the country. Notably, over 13,000 people in Ohio didn’t have power throughout most of this past weekend. Also, there were still 11,000 families in Connecticut and 23,000 more in Pennsylvania without electricity as of Monday morning, The Weather Channel reports.

As ice and wet snow build up on America’s aging power lines, the result is anything from short term inconvenience outages to longer-term outages that can be frustrating and even life-threatening.  Meanwhile, icy roads also contribute to utility poles being hit by cars and trucks which adds to the mess.

Interestingly, the power grid in Connecticut ( like many others) has become increasingly unreliable, so much so that officials are now stepping up safety warnings about gas and diesel generators because so many are using them. In particular, Eversource, an electric utility, warns customers not to run diesel generators indoors. First, everyone should know this, but it’s true that exhaust fumes from gas and diesel engines and generators can be deadly and, typically, victims don’t realize this until it’s too late.


Winter Power Outages May Threaten Your Family

On the whole, winter power outages have made the electric grid highly unstable in states like Connecticut, which is one of America’s most urbanized states.

However, winter power outages are disrupting daily life far beyond Connecticut. For instance, 39,000 customers were without electricity in the Kansas City area last week, The Kansas City Star reports.

In addition, the utility company, Kansas City Power & Light admits it cannot restore service to many customers for several days yet. Consequently, families and businesses will have been without electricity for more than a week in total because of winter power outages.

Remarkably, its heavy snow that’s causing power outages around the Kansas City area rather than ice, building upon power lines and disrupting the power grid there. Likewise, snow causes branches to fall on power lines, which again creates more outages.


Winter Power Outages Also Costly To Businesses

Winter power outages are also costly to both businesses as well family income. Particularly, winter power outages cost American businesses $27 billion in 2015 according to some estimates.

The average factory lost $150,000 to winter blackouts in 2015. Furthermore, the average school or government office also lose large amounts of taxpayer money due to winter power outages.

“A business can lose money from any power outage longer than five minutes,” E Source advisor Bill LeBlanc asserts. As a result, even a brief, 10-minute blackout could end up reducing the income of a small business that depends on every customer.


Winter Power Outages Require Planning And Backup Plans

For this reason, every entrepreneur and freelancer who works from home needs a backup power source. The E Source data clearly reveals business “downtime” from power outages is costly, even during the shortest blackouts.

That said, if you do use a computer or any other electronic device in your business or freelance gig, then you can certainly lose money to winter power outages. And, given the risks, a safe backup power source in your home should be on your short list.

Solar generators are among the safest backup power systems because they don’t produce any deadly exhaust fumes. It should be noted that solar panels are the most efficient in cold weather. A fact few folks are aware of. Additionally, sunlight is free while diesel fuel costs an average of $2.92 a gallon.

Diesel and gasoline generators are a little more dangerous because they produce the deadly gas carbon monoxide (CO). In fact, CO is so dangerous that generator manufacturer Briggs & Stratton recommends that you never use a generator indoors. Overall, generators cause a large percentage of the fatal carbon monoxide poisonings in America.

Winter power outages are a fact of life for many businesses.  This means work at home freelancers are especially vulnerable because of the downtime implications.

Readers that want to take advantage of wholesale pricing on one of the more reliable solar generators can visit for more information

What are your thoughts on winter power outages and how to get through them? Let us know in the comments below.


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