Americans have less tolerance for power outages in a digital world

(BPT) – A flash of lighting, a loud clap of thunder and BOOM! Suddenly everything goes dark and you know the power in your home is officially out.

Just about everyone has experienced a power outage due to a seasonal storm in their lifetime and it is a trend that continues to grow between super storms and ageing infrastructure. And with more and more homeowners relying on technology to run their homes — from appliances to utilities to entertainment — when the power goes out, consumers are more easily frustrated.

Cummins, a global leader in backup power solutions, conducted a Harris Poll survey to better understand Americans’ intolerance of power outages in today’s digital age. Has modern technology and digital homes made people more intolerant of losing their power?

The survey polled 2,000 adults and 61 percent reported they feel frustration when the power goes out. In addition, 22 percent said there was nothing fun about a power outage. Of those who reported they could be entertained for some time with no power, 32 percent said it stopped being fun after one to four hours. It’s no surprise then that 29 percent of respondents would rather wait in line at the DMV than lose power.

The research also shows Americans’ tolerance for a power outage is at its lowest during the busiest home periods of the day. Sixty-three percent of respondents said the worst time for a power outage was in the evening (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.). This was followed by the morning when people are getting up and trying to get ready to go to work.

When inconvenience turns dangerous

In some cases, a power outage is more than just an annoyance, it can also be dangerous and costly.

‘Winter outages are especially dangerous because people take desperate actions to try and provide the heat they need and that can lead to further problems or injuries,’ says Natural Disaster Preparedness Expert and Meteorologist Cheryl Nelson.

For example, if your power should go out during the winter, you should never look to kerosene heaters, grills, or any other type of outdoor heater to fill the void. These heat sources can pose fire and carbon monoxide risks. In addition to the dangers of winter storm, losing power can mean losing dollars from spoiled food and costs to repair frozen pipes and water damage.

Nelson says a safer and reliable solution to avoid losing power all together is to invest in a standby generator. The Cummins QuietConnect line of generators present a dependable, energy-efficient solution that turns on automatically in the event of a power outage, allowing power to seamlessly continue running. You can learn more at

Power outages increasing

While power outages due to weather seem to be a situational event, research from CNN shows power outages across the world have increased 124 percent over the last 20 years.

In the United States, the worst winter storm in recent memory occurred in January 2009, when an ice storm spanning across Arkansas and Kentucky left 1.3 million people without power, many for as long as 10 days. Forty-two people died and debris from the storm lingered into the summer.

No one knows when another storm like that could appear again, so it’s important to be prepared. Because when your world suddenly goes dark, it’s good to know there’s light at the end and throughout the storm.