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Behind the Numbers of the February 2021 Power Outages

Updated: May 8, 2021

Severe winter weather across the United States this week has caused emergency declarations, power outages and hazardous road conditions. At one point more than 4,000,000 American were without power. The bad weather was widespread, with more than a third of the continental US recording below-zero temperatures. The states most seriously impacted thus far are Texas, Oregon, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia.

Many families affected by the outages sought refuge with relatives or hunkered down with generator-powered space heaters and fireplaces to keep warm. Utility officials say it could be days before power is restored to everyone. Linemen are the line of first response to severe winter weather events like this often resulting in accumulated ice on trees and power lines.

Linemen face a dangerous and demanding task, in addition to the below-freezing temperatures. Ice accumulation can weigh down power lines so much that they break, or tree branches can fall and take the lines with them. Linemen must clear some debris, if needed, and then shimmy up icy utility poles to restring lines using belts and spiked boots. The outages of this week were caused by both weather as well as rolling black outs to conserve energy.

As linemen across the country begin what will be a grueling week restore power we analyzed over 2,000 utility, state and municipal announcements regarding the outages and cross referenced them against data from the U.S. Energy Information and Administration and Poweroutage.Us to provide some illustrative detail to who are amongst the hardest hit across the country. The Lineman Career analysis is not a criticism of the utility providers but rather a highlight of hard work that crews are under taking to return service.

Texas Power Outages

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Military Department have deployed the National Guard to conduct welfare checks on residents, as the state continues to battle bitter cold and a winter storm, according to a news release from his office.

Oregon Power Outages