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Local News

History of Power Outages Affecting New Hampshirites

Credit: iStock

Armand Jackson

Patch News reported that nearly 30,000 New Hampshirites were without power on July 21st throughout the afternoon to almost midnight after three waves of thunderstorms went through the state. Eversource, one of the main electric services companies in the state reported about 24,000 of its customers were without power, later in the evening they reported that about 11,000 customers were still without power, mostly in the Lakes Region but also the Seacoast and central New Hampshire. Until, another electric service provider in New Hampshire, reported that more than 1,600 customers in Exeter lost power during the afternoon but later in the evening the number decreased to less than 500. Then New Hampshire Electric Coop reported nearly 4,700 customers without power, mostly in the Lakes Region.

According to the NOAA National Centers For Environmental Information, extreme weather events such as severe coastal storms, winter storms, cold waves, thunderstorms, floods, and tropical cyclones are common to New Hampshire. The report stated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency made 15 major disaster declarations for the state between 2011–2020 with seven of those declarations related to severe storms and flooding. These storms have caused major power outages in the past 14 years in New Hampshire. In 2008, a major ice storm took out power for over 400,000 residents; In 2010, over 350,000 residents lost power due to a windstorm; In 2011, over 300,00 due to a snowstorm; over 250,000 in 2014 due to another snowstorm; and over 250,000 in 2017 due to an October storm. 

So how ready is the state’s energy infrastructure in tackling these power outages? New Hampshire’s energy infrastructure was given a C+ by the ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card since there have been 278 outages between 2008 and 2017. Significant investments have been made to improve the reliability of New Hampshire’s electrical transmission and distribution systems. The report however stated that unless new generators are added or efficiency reduces demand, the retirements of power generators in the region were expected to result in demand outstripping the supply of electricity.