It’s 6:42 p.m. and the lights go out, while hurricane winds lash the trees overhead. After two days without power, cellphones no longer have any battery and, even if they do, there is no service because cell towers are down. After three days, food in the fridge is going bad. Nearby restaurants and grocery stores are closed. It’s easy to see how prolonged power outages can quickly become a serious problem.
Over the past 13 years, more than 20 major hurricanes and snowstorms struck electric power grids and triggered outages across the United States. Every blackout left hundreds of thousands of people in the dark for several days. These power cuts disrupted daily life, threatened peoples’ safety and wellbeing, and caused millions of dollars in economic losses.
For example, Hurricane Harvey left more than 200,000 people in southeast Texas without power for days. Prolonged blackouts are more than just an inconvenience – they are dangerous. Hospitals cannot operate fully, utilities such as sewage and water struggle, and telecommunications can go down.