Ten Common Reasons For a Blackout

Ten Common Reasons For a Blackout

A sudden loss of power can be frustrating, inconvenient and even dangerous. When the lights go out in your neighbourhood, you may lose access to heat, water and light. But why does power fail? In this brief article, we'll review ten common reasons for a blackout.

Planned outages

Planned outages are necessary to keep the grid operating smoothly and safely. Utilities schedule planned outages to perform maintenance work on equipment or facilities that serve your area, such as substations and power lines.

Poor weather

When it comes to power outages, the most common causes are poor weather and lightning strikes that hit power lines. Storms can also knock down trees onto power lines or even transformers themselves, causing short circuits that lead to blackouts.

Fallen trees

Falling trees and branches can damage utility poles and lines. The weight of the tree or branch may pull down the pole or snap it in half. This can happen even if the tree falls away from the line. A storm-related wind gust could also knock over a tree and cause a power outage.

Animal interference

When there is an outage caused by animals on a power line, it's called animal interference. This can be caused by squirrels, birds, or even a person who touches the wire (this is called "line contact"). In some cases, animals may cause more than one type of outage at once. For example, a squirrel could get electrocuted while causing a line contact as well as causing an arc flash where the electricity jumps from the wire to nearby objects.

Vehicle crashes

The most common cause of a vehicle crash that leads to a power outage is when a vehicle hits a power pole or transmission line. If the vehicle is moving fast enough and the object hit is strong enough, it can cause damage to the power line and bring down the electricity flowing through it.

Construction or maintenance work

Construction crews sometimes use heavy equipment like cranes or bulldozers to build new buildings or repair old ones. These large machines can damage power lines when they accidentally hit them or when they get too close to them while moving around onsite. This can cause an outage lasting anywhere from several minutes to several hours.

High energy demand

During peak times, the demand for electricity can outpace the supply of energy from generators and cause blackouts or brownouts (when power frequency drops). This may occur during extreme weather events or when large numbers of people are using appliances at once.

Equipment failure

Equipment failures are another common cause of power outages. For example, equipment failure in the electrical grid can cause a blackout if it affects large parts of the network at once. This could happen if there is an equipment failure at a power plant or substation that leads to a cascade effect on the system as other components shut down or experience overloads when demand exceeds supply during peak hours.

Bushfires and natural disasters

Bushfires can cause a power outage if they damage the transformers that step up or down voltage levels in order for electricity to travel over long distances. Transformers are made from metal coils that get very hot when electricity flows through them, so if one gets damaged or broken during a fire, it can lead to an outage in areas where there are no other transformers.


Vandalism is a huge problem for power providers. It can cause safety issues and damage equipment, which in turn can lead to power outages. Vandals often target transmission lines, substations, and other infrastructure that helps keep the lights on. When they do this, they're making things more dangerous for everyone; they're putting lives at risk as well as causing power outages.


From lightning strikes to downed wires, there are many reasons why your power might go off unexpectedly. In any event, the most important thing to do is call a licensed electrician to help restore the power in your home.