Have you ever noticed there seem to be more power outages in the sweltering summer months than during the frosty winter weather? While hot temperatures do not directly cause power disruptions, they do impact electrical infrastructure that can lead to outages. Here are a few of the causes.
When there are several days with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius, the heat can cause power lines to expand and sag, and reducing clearances around the lines can cause a short circuit. This is because the electrical system is designed with a breaker in the substation, so when there is a short, it shuts down to prevent the lines from heating up and burning to protect the equipment. This could be a momentary shutdown with the system automatically resetting. But if there is a larger issue, the system will remain off to avoid equipment failures and damage, resulting in a power outage.
When temperatures rise, homes and businesses all crank up the air conditioning to keep their families and employees comfortable. When you compare common appliances, air conditioners are near the top of the list for the highest electricity consumption. With so many air conditioners running at the same time, it puts a tremendous strain on the electricity grid and may cause an outage.
While thunderstorms can happen year-round, they are more common in the summertime when the air is hot and humid. When the sun heats up air near the ground, that air rises and comes in contact with the cold air above, causing instability that can trigger a thunderstorm which often produces lightning. While lightning strikes near electrical equipment can create surges that cause power disruptions, it is more often the high winds produced by these storms bringing down tree branches on power lines that lead to outages.
With ongoing climate change and the more severe weather conditions, we have seen over the past several years, Elexicon Energy is taking this into account when designing and building new electrical infrastructure. Our goal is to use industry best practices and to create a more robust system to continue to improve performance and provide reliable electricity services to our customers.