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The biggest blackouts in history

We use electricity every day and often we take it for granted. When power outages happen, we realise electricity’s importance. Usually, power outages are easily fixed and you return to your normal routine within hours and sometimes even minutes. But did you know that since electricity was invented, the world has witnessed some of the worst electrical blackouts? To know more about some of the major blackouts in history, keep reading:

  • New York, 1977: The incident happened on July 13 - it affected most of New York City and left 9 million residents without electricity for almost 24 hours. The incident also led to looting, robberies and vandalism. Interestingly, the blackout also affected the shooting of the film Superman which was being shot in one of the affected neighborhoods.
  • Auckland, 1998: This is the longest blackout in history, lasting 66 days. Yes, you heard it right 66 days! The five-week blackout began on February 19. It left nearly 6,000 people without electricity. Many people moved to other parts of the city to find alternative accommodation. Many businesses had to allow work from home for their employees or they relocated offices in the suburbs.
  • Italy, 2003: The country witnessed a serious power outage on September 28, 2003. People suffered a blackout from 3 hours to 12 hours, depending on the location. It affected almost all of the country’s population, around 57 million people. Those living on the Italian peninsula suffered the blackout for 12 hours. Whereas people living near Geneva were affected for 3 hours.
  • India, 2012: There were two blackouts: the first one took place on July 30 and another one the very next day. The blackouts affected almost 670 million people in 22 states across India. As per the authorities, the reason for the blackout was the excessive power demand of certain states. It took over 15 hours to resume the 80% service.

Blackouts can occur due to different reasons such as extreme weather, motoring accidents causing broken poles, birds or animals coming in contact with transformers and fuses or sudden spikes in the electrical supply voltage. Switchgears play a key role in preventing electrical breakdowns. At RR Switchgear, one of the leading switchgear manufacturers, we recommend the use of high-quality switchgear and electrical components across residential, commercial and industrial sectors.


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