The costs of electric power outages to American electric customers are generally called “socio-economic” costs.
Attempts have been made to quantify these costs but the estimates vary widely.
One source reports that the costs are $26 billion each year and that they have been increasing as the electric power industry is restructured.
A 2001 report1 from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) states that power outages and problems with power quality cost the U.S. economy over $119 billion per year.
Numerous impacts of power outages have been identified. Included among these impacts are:
• Loss of life due to accidents (e.g., no street lights);
• Loss of life of ill and elderly (death rates go up);
• Loss of productivity by industry;
• Loss of sales by business;
• Loss of wages of labor;
• Damage to equipment in industry;
• Fires and explosions;
• Riots and thefts;
• Increased insurance rates.