August 2, 2021

Power outages can be annoying and at times worrisome if they take a while, and you’re not sure what caused it. They put an entire halt to our lives since we need electricity for pretty much everything.

There are many possible causes for a power outage and it can last from minutes to hours to weeks, depending on the severity of the situation.

Here we list the different types of power outages and their causes to help you understand how they occur and what to do in the event of one.


Blackouts are the most severe type of power outage. They happen when an entire area loses power due to major damage of that area’s electrical facility, usually because of a strong storm, but other natural disasters such as earthquakes can be the cause too. This can last up to weeks as the damage may be particularly difficult to fix. 

A response to a blackout must be proactive and not reactive. To prepare for it, you can buy a generator, battery-operated devices, or chargeable appliances and electronics you can keep as spares. Purchase emergency lights, have lots of flashlights and make sure their batteries are new or fully charged. Power banks for charging phones must be ready to use as well.

Rolling Blackouts

These are planned outages, usually due to maintenance checks or if the grid doesn’t have enough power for the entire area it serves. For these types of outages, you need to plan around it so you finish all the important stuff before the scheduled blackout occurs.


Ever wonder why your lights suddenly dim or you can’t use some devices that require a lot of voltage? This happens when there’s a brownout, or a dip in the power supply. Although seemingly not as inconvenient as a blackout, it causes damage to your devices and their overall performances in the long run.

One way to avoid this is to unplug devices and appliances that require a lot of power when not in use.

Permanent fault

These are typically caused by a power line fault due to problems in the supply, and can be easily fixed. While the sudden outage is annoying, if the power comes back within minutes, then it was most likely due to a permanent fault.

Other causes

Storms are the most common cause of outages so if the weather is fine, you shouldn’t expect loss of power in your home.

However, animals can cause outages too, such as squirrels, by getting stuck in grids or walking across power lines and getting shocked. This can result in just your home losing power in your neighborhood so you need to alert your electric company so they can check and restore your power.

Accidents such as a vehicle colliding with an electrical pole can also cause a power outage. Though uncommon, it’s not unheard of.

What to do after

In case of a severe storm with floods and you had to evacuate, be careful when returning to your home after. Don’t enter while water is still present that you need to submerge to get through it. Be on the lookout for fallen power lines and anything they touch. Don’t attempt to use appliances or electronics damaged in a flood. 

Call an electrician to professionally assess the situation of your home after a long power outage due to storm damage. We at Astley Electrical are experienced in surveying aftermaths of storms. Keep our contact details on your phones at all times and in your emergency files so you can call us and we can provide help and service immediately.