Massachusetts' average electrical outages grows
Last weekend's storms reminded thousands in Massachusetts of how vulnerable our aging electrical infrastructure is in severe weather.
- And its vulnerability has become more apparent over the past decade.
Driving the news: The average Massachusetts electric customer experienced 8.7 hours of power outages in 2021, the most recent year of data available from the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.
- That's up from 5.3 in 2020 and from 7.1 in 2013.
- At one point, 18,000 homes were without power. Nearly half of those homes had to be inspected for problems with natural gas systems before residents could return.
Zoom out: Massachusetts' outage-hours average surpassed the U.S. average of 7.3 hours in 2021.
- The national 2021 average was down from 8.2 hours in 2020, but more than double 2013's rate.
- While some outages are short-lived annoyances, others are widespread events and even potentially deadly for those who depend on medical equipment or who must deal with extreme temperatures.
The big picture: Utility regulators have projected that nearly 50% of New England transmission line mileage will experience overloads by 2050 unless new power lines are built and other changes are made.
- Former Gov. Charlie Baker last year signed a climate law that created a Grid Modernization Advisory Council, which oversees utility companies' efforts to modernize their grids.
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