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Blackouts and Brownouts

What is a blackout? and What is a Brownout

A blackout represents the most severe type of power disruption, resulting in a complete interruption of the electrical supply within a specific service area. These large-scale service outages typically occur due to external factors like severe weather conditions or unexpected surges in electricity demand. In contrast, a brownout is characterized by a deliberate or unintentional reduction in voltage or overall capacity, leading to a temporary decrease in power supply.

Put simply, blackouts occur when there is an imbalance between generation capacity and demand. While the majority are relatively brief, even a short blackout can cause severe disruption to a business’s operations and productivity.

One method employed to avoid blackouts is by intentionally throttling electricity supply to a certain area. These dips in supply are known as brownouts, where homes and businesses continue to be supplied with electricity, but at a lower voltage.

This technique takes its name from the dimming of incandescent light bulbs that frequently marks a brownout. In some cases, a brownout can be triggered unintentionally due to equipment malfunction on the grid, but this is rare.

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