Power Outage in North Carolina Remains a Mystery

January 19, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

Each year, power outages result from any number of causes, from naturally occurring weather-related events to animals and rodents to human error.  While some are longer lasting than others, which inherently are a bigger inconvenience, they are all frustrating for businesses and residents, alike.

It’s one of the reasons both customer segments protect themselves, especially in outage-susceptible areas.  Residents often install gas- or propane-powered generators that supply power during outages.  Businesses, on the other hand, may find “full-service” generators costly, but they often install UPS and power protection systems that protect equipment from electrical damage.  They also provide short-term power to allow systems that are not on extended back-up power to be properly shut down to avoid damage and data loss.

The good news is that most outages are short and repairs and maintenance can be accomplished quickly, once the cause of the outage and extent of damage has been identified.

But what happens when the cause remains a mystery, as is the case currently in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  Nearly two weeks after the outage on January 7, the outage continues to baffle authorities. 

On that Sunday, a local substation failed, when a breaker repeatedly tripped the circuits, knocking out power to a section of Elizabeth City.  It’s been an unseasonably cold period in the region, which has created an unusually high power draw but, that notwithstanding, doesn’t explain with the breaker failed, according to city officials.  Power was restored in the area in a few hours by connecting the substation to another local circuit.

It’s hoped that, with the extreme temperatures that have frozen out much of the East Coast expected to rise, the issue was, in fact, temperature-related and won’t present another immediate threat.

Still, for businesses that don’t have appropriate power protection in place, the damage could have already been done, causing costly repairs and business delays. 

Outages are, by nature, unpredictable.  It’s that trait that should prompt business execs and IT managers to seek out advice on what type and size power protection system is suitable for their needs.  It’s the one way to ensure their technology investments are safe from surge damage during outages.