Report shows 3 million people affected by outages in 2016

Power management company Eaton has launchd its annual Blackout Tracker Report for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), which has revealed 3 million people were affected by more than 240 power outages in 2016.

While widespread power failures in South Australia had the largest impact on individuals and businesses, New South Wales topped the list of Australian states for the third year in a row with 33 power outages – while the North Island topped New Zealand with 80 power outages.

“Every state or region in ANZ recorded a rise in power outages, highlighting an increasing need for businesses and consumers to look at the power management strategies and disaster recovery plans they have in place to deal with interruptions,” said Gordon Makryllos, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at Eaton Industries.

The costs associated with power failures has continued to rise for businesses across the globe. The 2016 Cost of Data Centre Outages report by the Ponemon Institute has found the average cost of a data centre outage in 2015 was a staggering $740,357, up 38 per cent from 2010.

While summer heat waves dominated discussion about power supply, it was the spring season that produced the most power outages in both Australia and New Zealand with more than one third occurring between September and November.

“Australia and New Zealand is a diverse, unique climate where almost 1 in 3 power outages is caused by bad weather and trees, so businesses and individuals need to plan for the unexpected. Uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), generators and power management software solutions can help deliver reliable power during outages – reducing the risk of data loss and costs associated with downtime or IT damage.”

This World Backup Day, Eaton is offering a complimentary consultation and Critical Power Site Audit to all Australian and New Zealand businesses that will assess the business’ vulnerability to power disruption. The consultation will provide businesses with recommendations on the steps that can be taken to minimise business downtime.

Among the most unusual causes of power outages in 2016 included:

  • Hayes Creek, NT: On 21 October, an olive python snake with a magpie goose in its mouth was found looped over a power line following a 30-minute blackout to the area.
  • Eurobodalla NSW: On 15 April, a flying fox plague caused a large number of safety equipment activations resulting in several blackouts over a period of weeks.
  • Canning Vale WA: On 16 November, the maximum-security Hakea Prison and surrounding areas lost power after an earthing wire was stolen.
  • Bathurst NSW: On 31 November, a flock of birds was blamed for leaving 1,573 customers in the dark after they hit a power line which sparked the outage.
  • Ashburton NZ: On 23 November, a cat was lucky to walk away with its life after a fault man tried to rescue it from a power pole. Instead of climbing down the ladder, the cat climbed higher. The power was cut to help it down safely.