How Long Does It Take To Fix A Power Outage?

Power outages can be due to several reasons, and based on the factors, the time taken to fix a power outage will differ. If you want to learn about different causes of power outages and factors that influence the time taken, you are at the right place. 

The time it takes to fix a power outage depends on the cause and severity of the outage. Minor outages caused by blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers can be fixed within minutes. However, larger outages caused by severe weather or equipment failure can take several hours or even days to fix.

In this article, you will learn about the factors influencing the time to fix the power outage. So, keep reading. 

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Factors affecting the time taken to fix a power outage

The time required to fix a power outage will be based on several factors. Here are the common 7 factors determining the time to fix a power outage. 

1. Cause of the power outage

Several factors pose a reason for the power outage. 

The common cause of the power outage is natural calamities. 

Other than natural calamities, there are several reasons for power outages.

And based on the cause, the time taken to fix the power outage will differ. 

Here are some of the causes of power outages: 


Natural calamities like rain and snow storms cause severe power outages. 

In 2020, extreme weather caused severe power outages. 

It took the power of 2 million houses in America.

And the snowstorm in Oklahoma caused severe power outages, due to which 300,000 people suffered. 

In such cases, it will take a longer time to restore the power because a restoration crew has to wait until the weather turn normal to start the restoration process. 

Natural disaster

Like bad weather conditions, natural disaster is also common causes of power outages. 

Power outages are one of the many issues affecting people’s daily occurrences. 

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, and wildfires may cause power outages. 

Wildfires are mostly predicted. So, power outages are planned to avoid severe damage to people. 

As these natural disasters cause severe damage, power outages due to these causes will take longer to restore. 

Due to global warming, the temperature is rising continuously. 

A continuous temperature rise will result in flooding. 

A flood can easily damage the distribution wire towers, which causes significant disadvantages to the underground wiring. 

If a power outage is occurred due to any of these natural disasters, it will take a longer time to restore the power. 

Human error

Due to the vehicle collision, the power poles are disrupted, which may cause downed power lines. 

In such a case, a power outage may occur. 

During regular maintenance, errors may occur, resulting in a power outage. 

If the power outage is caused for these reasons, it will be restored in a few hours. 

Also read: Who Is Responsible For Power Line From Pole To House? (Installation+Maintainance)

Failure of equipment

The present power grid of the US is successfully passing its 50-year lifespan. 

There is nothing to get shocked if the equipment of the power grid fails at times of high energy demand or during natural disasters. 

Because of this reason, most states plan power outages during extreme weather to avoid disasters. 

When a power outage is caused due to equipment failure, it will take considerably longer time to restore the power. 


Vandalism means when an equipment failure is caused due to criminal activities or attacks. 

Power outages due to this reason cannot be predicted, but it is rare for such incidents to occur. 

An actual incident happened in California in 2013; a gunman attacked a substation intending to interrupt local communications. 

Even though the power is restored, this attack caused damage worth $15. 

Increased energy demand

If there is increasing energy demand, operators will plan a power outage. It is most often called a rolling blackout. 

These steps are undertaken to avoid blow power outages due to the high energy demand. 

Trees fallen

Trees falling on the polls and equipment are primarily due to natural disasters like storms and rain. 

When trees fall on the polls, it will cause electrical blackouts. 

Broken branches often fall on the electrical lines resulting in power outages. 

In such cases, power restoration will be done in a few hours.  

2. Type of outage

The two common types of power outages are:

Planned power outage

Planned power outages are most often restored within the estimated time. 

There are several reasons for the planned power outages. 

Here are some of the reasons for planned power outages: 

Maintenance and repair

Utility companies plan power outages for maintenance and repair purposes. 

Maintenance includes inspecting the electrical equipment and replacing them if faulty. 

They will also upgrade the electrical equipment to the latest technologies to advance the infrastructure. 

By conducting regular maintenance, utility companies will get rid of sudden power outages or failures. 

System expansion

Energy demands will keep increasing day by day. 

So utility companies plan power outages to add equipment and attach extra power lines. 

They will also add new substations based on the requirement. 

They will also work on upgradation and improving power grids to meet the high energy demands. 

Testing and inspection

It is the crucial activity of utility companies to test or inspect the electrical system to ensure that they are running safely. 

Through testing and inspecting the electrical systems, utility companies ensure the electrical system is reliable for meeting energy demands. 

During the testing periods, utility companies check conducting lines, backup generators, and the accuracy of the metering lines. 

These planned power outages will be informed prior, and they will be restored within a short period. 

Balancing load

When there is high energy demand, utility companies will execute the planned power outage to reduce the load in the power grid. 

It will help meet the high energy demand during the peak hours. 


Sometimes, excavations are planned near the power lines. 

In such cases, utility companies will schedule the power outage in that area. 

By doing these, utility companies ensure the safety of the workers. 

It also prevents damage to the electrical infrastructure. 

And utility companies will give prior information to the people in that particular area who will get affected due to the power outage. 

Emergency training

Planned power outages also occur when utility companies train employees, emergency rescuers, and volunteers to respond to the protocol immediately. 

They will also train them on communication systems and coordination functions to act promptly during emergencies. 

Unplanned power outage

Unplanned power outages mainly occur during natural calamities and natural disasters. 

It is hard to predict the time of power restoration during those times. 

Still, utility companies will have proper systems to restore power after unplanned power outages. 

3. The severity of the outage

While taking about the time to restore power, it is crucial to consider the severity of power outages. 

Utility companies will evaluate the power outage’s severity before giving an estimated time to restore power. 

Here is how to evaluate the severity of power outages: 

The scale of the power outage

Utility companies measure the severity of power outages by considering the scale at which it affects the people. 

If a power outage occurs only in a particular building or Appartement, the scale of a power outage is considered less severe.

If the power outage occurred in several cities and states, affecting thousands of people, it is considered more severe. 

When it is a less severe power outage, it can be restored promptly. 

But a utility company may take longer to restore power in severe power outages. 

Evaluating the scale of power outages is the first step in restoring power. 

Duration of the power outage

Professionals will evaluate the duration of a power outage to understand its severity. 

If the power outage lasts longer in your area, you must understand that a severe power outage occurred. 

If the power outage lasts a few minutes or hours, it won’t cause much disturbance to people. 

If it lasts for weeks or even longer, it will affect people’s daily lives, and it can become challenging for companies to restore power. 

The longer the power outage, severe it becomes. 

Possible consequences associated with the power outage

While assessing the severity of the power outages, professionals will consider what consequences it would have on people’s lives. 

Here are some of the expected consequences of the power outage: 

Safety hazards

During power outages, lighting may get affected. 

It is dangerous, especially at night. 

Also, medical equipment that relies on electricity to function will get interrupted by posting as a thread to people. 

There is a risk of people losing lives and being injured in times of extended power outages. 

In such cases, power outages are considered more severe. 

Economical impacts

Businesses that rely on the internet and electricity to function may get affected. 

It causes loss to the business and will also lead to loss of important opportunities. 

Disruption in the public services

Water treatment, transportation, and emergency medical facilities will get affected during severe power outages. 

It will put people’s lives at risk. 

Communication issues

In times of power outages, all communication channels may get disturbed. 

As a result, people will get isolated, and reaching out to support in case of emergencies would be challenging. 

4. Availability of repair crews

The time taken to restore the power will vary based on the availability of the repair crew. 

Here is how the availability of the repair crew will affect the time taken for power restoration: 

Immediate responses

The repair crews will promptly respond to the queries if they are available. 

And utility companies must send the repair crew to the location as soon as the complaint arises. 

If the repair crews have reached the location sooner, it will be easy to restore the power. 

When the repair crew reaches the location, they will assess the situation and gather all the equipment and support required to restore the power as soon as possible. 


A readily available repair crew will assess the cause of the power outage. 

It will also assess the equipment and support required to restore the power. 

If the repair crew has assessed the situation, utility companies will provide them with resources like power lines, replacement parts, and the support service required to restore power. 

External support

A repair crew can also arrange external support from the neighbor companies or assistance.

Availabilities of external support will fasten the restoration process and offer great support to the repair crew. 


Communication and good coordination will make the process easy when a repair crew works on power restoration. 

As the repair crew has been trained, they will coordinate and communicate well to restore power as soon as possible. 


A repair crew will undertake all the safety measures before they begin the work to avoid any hazards and damage to the electrical infrastructure. 

5. Accessibility of the affected area

If a power outage occurs in an area that is easily accessible, the power restoration process will be smooth and fast. 

In such cases, a repair crew will immediately act with all the available resources. 

If a power outage occurs in rural or mountain areas, restoring power will take a long time. 

6. Time of day

At which time of the day the power outage occurred will also influence the time taken to restore power. 

If the power outage occurs at night or during off hours, restoring the power immediately will be challenging. 

The time of the day at which the power outage occurred will affect the following factors: 

  • Availability of repair crew. 
  • Communication. 
  • Coordination. 
  • Availability of resources. 

7. Equipment and infrastructure

At last, the availability of equipment and infrastructure plays a significant role in power restoration. 

Here are the equipment and infrastructure required to do the power restoration: 

  • Repair vehicles. 
  • Diagnosing tools include multimeters, voltage detectors, and circuit analyzers. 
  • Replacement parts like breakers, insulators, fuses, connectors, and conductors. 
  • Generator in case of more extended power outage scenarios. 
  • Substation equipment like switches, bus bars, protective relays, and capacitors. 

All these 7 factors influence the time taken for the power restorations. 

What are the different stages of power restoration? 

The different stages of power restorations include, 

  • Assessment 
  • Gathering resources
  • Repairing process and 
  • Restoring power. 

Final Thoughts

The time taken to restore the power highly depends on the type of power outage in your locality. You must also consider the power outage’s severity to estimate how long it will take to restore the power.

The most common causes of power outages are natural calamities and disasters. In such cases, assessing the damages, gathering the resources, and communicating well to complete the restoration will be challenging. 

Most often, these power outages may take a long time to recover. In planned power outages, utility companies will give prior information and restore the power within the mentioned time. 

Should I unplug after a power outage?

Electronic devices like computers, microwaves, and televisions must be unplugged after a sudden power outage because power surges can damage appliances.

Can a power outage damage a PC?

Frequent power strikes can destroy the hardware of the computer. So, it is good to unplug the PC after a power outage.

Reference: Power outage Wikipedia

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Arthur Smith

Howdy! I am Arthur Smith, an electrical engineer who is extremely passionate about electronics. I have lived in different parts of the US and currently reside in Wisconsin. I am one of those rare children who knew what he wanted to study and do in life right from the start. I was a curious child who wanted to know how switches work and how the AC works, and I would always observe my dad whenever he would handle the wires and fix things around the house. I currently work as an electrical engineer at a reputed company and write for this blog. And I read loads of books or play video games in my free time.

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