Ranking Texas utilities for power outages

Jenna Careri
By Jenna Careri

Texas power outages are becoming longer and more common.

The Texas energy industry may be growing, but power outages are getting worse. That’s in both number and length of outages on the national level, according to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA started tracking electric utility reliability in 2013, with the 2018 data released in October and updated in February. Those statistics are measured in a few ways, the two most important being:

  • SAIFI – the average number of interruptions per customer
  • SAIDI – the average outage duration for each customer

Including major event days (MED), here’s how the data looks for the Lone Star State and the country as a whole.

National power outages are getting longer

Over the five-year period, customers have begun to experience slightly more outages, from an average of 1.4 outages per year per customer in 2013 to 1.6 in 2018. The real story, though, is the length of outages, which show a strong upward trend.

In 2013, the average outage length was about four hours. 2017 – the year of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria – saw the highest jump, to an average of 6.5 hours. In 2018 the number came down again, but shows outages are still lasting an hour and a half longer than they did five years earlier.

Texas power outages are less predictable

Compared to national averages, Texas power interruptions are less predictable year to year. Customers experienced more outages through 2017, but that number dropped the following year back to 2013 levels at an average of 1.6 outages per year.

Length of outages, meanwhile, is consistently inconsistent in the Lone Star State. Over the five-year period, the region has seen average interruptions as short as 4 hours to more than 12 hours. In both peak years (7.4 hours in 2015 and 12 hours in 2017), Texas was struck by severe storms and hurricanes.

Isolated from storm years, the state’s average power outage length has hovered between the four- and five-hour marks.

The best and worst Texas utilities for power outages

Who is the worst and best when it comes to Texas power companies? Not all electric companies report their data, but here’s what the EIA numbers show.

The best Texas electric utility of 2018 was the City of Greenville’s municipal utility, GEUS, most of whose customers didn’t experience any outages. Of those who did, outages lasted an average of 10 minutes.

The worst was Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative (URECC), with about five outages per customer lasting an average of 20 hours. URECC provides electricity to 10 countries in northeast Texas.

Of the deregulated energy utility companies, CenterPoint Energy, AEP Texas North, and AEP Texas Central finished 26, 27, and 29 respectively out of 68 total utilities. Texas-New Mexico Power and Oncor did not report their data.

See the statistics for all reported utility companies in Texas below.

Jenna is a writer covering the environment and energy industry. She is a Massachusetts native and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French.
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