Power Outage Damage

Claim Type

Power Outage Damage


Power Outage 

A power outage (also power cut, blackout or power failure) is a short- or long-term loss of the electric power to an area.

There are many causes of power failures in an electricity network. Examples of these causes include faults at power stations, damage to electric transmission lines, substations or other parts of the distribution system, a short circuit, or the overloading of electricity mains.

Power failures are particularly critical at sites where the environment and public safety are at risk. Institutions such as hospitals, sewage treatment plants, mines, etc., will usually have backup power sources, such as standby generators, which will automatically start up when electrical power is lost. Other critical systems, such as telecommunications, are also required to have emergency power. Telephone exchange rooms usually have arrays of lead-acid batteries for backup and also a socket for connecting a generator during extended periods of outage.

Power outages are categorized into three different phenomena, relating to the duration and effect of the outage:

  • A transient fault is a momentary (a few seconds) loss of power typically caused by a temporary fault on a power line. Power is automatically restored once the fault is cleared.
  • A brownout or sag is a drop in voltage in an electrical power supply. The term brownout comes from the dimming experienced by lighting when the voltage sags. Brownouts can cause poor performance of equipment or even incorrect operation.
  • A blackout refers to the total loss of power to an area and is the most severe form of power outage that can occur. Blackouts which result from or result in power stations tripping are particularly difficult to recover from quickly. Outages may last from a few minutes to a few weeks depending on the nature of the blackout and the configuration of the electrical network.

Restoring power after a wide-area outage can be difficult, as power stations need to be brought back on-line. Normally, this is done with the help of power from the rest of the grid. In the total absence of grid power, a so-called black start needs to be performed to bootstrap the power grid into operation. The means of doing so will depend greatly on local circumstances and operational policies, but typically transmission utilities will establish localized 'power islands' which are then progressively coupled together. To maintain supply frequencies within tolerable limits during this process, demand must be reconnected at the same pace that generation is restored, requiring close coordination between power stations, transmission and distribution organizations.

Preparation for a Hurricane is much easier than in decades past due to advanced forecasting techniques and the publics accessibility to weather forecasts and alerts. The power companies strongly recommend that all area families, individuals and businesses take steps to prepare for a Hurricane. Please visit the National Hurricane Center for the most up-to-date information on storm tracking, how to put in place a family preparedness plan, how to monitor a storm and what to do if a storm is forecast to strike.

Damage caused by a power outage after a hurricane event can be widespread and can take two weeks to a month to restore. Why is this important? Because during hurricanes, many businesses were forced to close until the power outages were restored. Many of these businesses would not be covered for business interruption because there was no direct physical damage to the power lines "within the boundaries of their property". No business can afford to be without power for several weeks to a month or more only to find out that they didn't have coverage due to the off-premises exposure.

Call your agent to make sure you have coverage for off-premises power outage losses as most property insurance policies unless specifically endorsed will not cover losses from utility service outages that occur off premises. For your business, the losses can be severe not only in terms of discomfort, but also in the form of a major financial loss to your business.

If you do not have a power outage or disruption of off-premises power, request to have this endorsement added to your policy. If you have the endorsement and you have Business Interruption Insurance, you will not have to worry about your lost earnings because of an extended power outage.

Call PublicAdjusters.com for a consultation to explore all your options in dealing with your damages caused by an off-premises power outage. 1-800-303-2591