Power blackout report reveals South East England is worst affected region for third year running

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The South East of England suffered more power blackouts in 2012 than any other region in the UK and topped the leader board for the third year in a row, reveals Eaton's latest annual Blackout Tracker report. The report, which is available on request from www.eaton.com/blackoutUK, shows that in 2012 the South East region experienced nearly 30% of the total number of power outages in the UK alone. This is also a significant increase from 2011 when the region accounted for over 20% of total outages, and almost double that of 2010 when it accounted for 16%. Interestingly, for this report, the South East doesn't include Greater London, which has actually seen a decrease in the number of power blackouts reported for the first time in three years, and now accounts for less than 8% of the total number of outages in the UK.

According to Eaton's findings, the average duration of an outage in the South East of England in 2012 was over four hours long. However, as research from Price Waterhouse included in the report demonstrates, the real impact of a blackout frequently lasts significantly longer than this. For example, when power outages affect IT systems, a company can take up to 48 hours to reconfigure a network and days, or even weeks, to re-enter lost data. The research also found that 90% of companies that experience a computer disaster and don't have a survival plan go out of business within 18months and 33% of businesses suffer financial losses of up to £316,900.

With these statistics in mind, the report goes on to examine what processes a business can put in place to avoid power outages. For example, given that a number of blackouts relate to overhead power line damage, the possibility of underground power lines providing the answer is explored. However, the report also identifies that there are some power outage causes that can never be predicted, such as when a swan collided with overhead power lines causing 3,000 customers to lose power.

Rather than relying on power outages being prevented, the report concludes that the best approach is for businesses to protect themselves from the impact of blackouts and mitigate potential losses. This can be achieved by putting in place a secure power protection plan and using power quality solutions, such as UPSs. The report also highlights the importance of seeking advice from a reputable supplier who can help ensure that the specification of the power protection products used is up-to-date and ready to cope with challenges posed by potential outages.

Eaton's annual Blackout Tracker report uses reported power outage information from news services, newspapers, websites and personal accounts to analyse the impact of power outages in the UK. A PDF copy of the full Blackout Tracker report is now available at www.eaton.com/blackoutUK

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