Power Outage Causes Voters to be Rerouted

May 05, 2017

By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

Elections interrupted by outside forces seem to be a recurring theme these days.

No, we’re not talking about the recent U.S. presidential elections. Rather, today we’re looking at the fact that a power outage forced a polling place serving six precincts in Middletown, Ohio, to be moved.

A car crash knocked over a utility pole, causing power at Grace Baptist Church to be cut off. As a result, 3,700 voters registered voters had to be notified that they would have to vote elsewhere. This was accomplished, according to officials, via the posting of detour signs by the county engineer’s office and through notifications by the Emergency Management Agency.

This example illustrates that government entities, like any other businesses, should have proper power protection and backup systems in place to ensure continuity in case of a power outage. Given the current environment, the preponderance of security breaches, and allegations of election fraud and manipulation, governments should want to avoid any irregularity in the process. And having backup power can help with that.

Power outages cost U.S. businesses in eight key market segments $27 billion last year, according to consulting and research company E Source (News - Alert). Those segments include batch manufacturing, continuous manufacturing, financial services/digital economy, offices, healthcare/hospitals, government/education, grocery/food stores, and retail. 

These outages can result from a wide variety of events.

The biggest threat to the power grid is squirrels and birds. According to T&D World, birds are responsible for about 25 percent of power outages in the U.S.

As noted above, traffic accidents can also sever power. So can backhoes during construction.

Storms are another culprit of power outages. In that case, heavy winds or lightning strikes can bring down trees, limbs, or branches into power lines. Speaking of weather, on extremely hot days when air conditioning usage is high, or very cold days when people have turned up their electric heaters, equipment can become overloaded and cause outages.

Edited by Alicia Young

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