cord plugged into outlet and on fire

Dangers of Electrical Disruptions

The US electrical grid is outdated and under strain. It needs serious upgrades in order to handle both climate change and increased demand. However, not much is being done about it by governments or utility providers. The oldest American power lines date back to the 1880s, but most were built in the 1950s and 1960s with a lifespan of 50 years. With that in mind, the US has more power outages than any other developed country.

In an analysis by Climate Central, it is reported that major outages—classified as affecting more than 50,000 homes or business—saw a ten-fold increase between the mid-1980s and 2012. Although this can be attributed, in part, to an improvement in reporting, data pulled from 2003 to the present shows that weather-related outages doubled. Non-weather related outages also increased, but weather accounts for 80% of all outages between 2003 and 2012.

This year, Colorado saw several major wildfires, including the largest in state history, the Pine Gulch fire. Therefore, it’s only natural to talk about what kind of effect these have on our power grid.

Wildfires can cause physical damage to energy infrastructure, disrupting service and leading to financial distress for the affected businesses and homes. But there is another issue at stake. This year, California authorities shut off power as a preventative measure to avoid wildfire ignitions.

From wildfires affecting power, to storms like June’s derecho that impacted over 200,000, Xcel Energy customers in Denver are seeing an increased risk of outages. In fact, Xcel is asking to increase electricity rates to pay for legally required maintenance of its lines to reduce the potential for power line-caused wildfires in Colorado.

Under Coverage

For members that run essential operations such as water, sanitation, or wastewater operations, losing electricity means a major disruption in your services. Disruptions in water supplies could have disastrous impacts on the community.

To prevent this, there are a few things you can do to prepare. If your business needs to run at all times, then consider your need for backup power generators.

Evaluating your risk to determine the type and number of power generators needed to maintain operations is key. A catastrophic event could destroy many miles of power lines. It’s important then to determine how long will you need to maintain the generators.

If you already have a generator, make sure you have it listed on your property schedule. Make sure you have a plan in place for regular testing and maintenance. If your district owns a transformer, make sure that it is scheduled as covered property in case of damage.

Our Property Program provides coverage up to a sublimit of $100,000 for a property and/or business income loss caused by a lack of incoming electricity because a utility service provider, located away from your scheduled location, sustained damage from a covered cause. For more specific information about your property or coverage, contact your broker or email us at

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