Most of US at Risk of Blackouts This Summer, Regulator Says

People from Michigan to California could lose power throughout the summer.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Homes across the US could lose power this summer.

Sarah Tew/CNET

People from Michigan to Texas to California are at risk of losing power throughout the summer, according to a report Wednesday from North American Electric Reliability Corporation. The Midwest is at "high risk" while other parts of the US are at an "elevated risk" of energy emergencies.

A map of the US and Canada showing a season energy lose risk assessment of each region

The Midwest faces the highest risk of losing power this summer. 

NERC/CNET/Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe

NERC, a regulatory authority that oversees the reliability of electrical infrastructure in North America, said above-average seasonal temperatures, as well drought conditions, are to blame. Droughts will affect how much energy hydro generators can produce, as well as output from thermal generators that need water to keep them cool.

Drought has been an issue in the Western and Southwestern US regions since the beginning of 2021. Satellite images of Lake Powell in Arizona show the declining water level there. 

"Persistent, extreme drought and its accompanying weather patterns, however, are out-of-the-ordinary and tend to create extra stresses on electricity supply and demand," said Mark Olson, NERC's manager of Reliability Assessments.

NERC's report also found supply chain issues, an active late-summer wildfire season and ongoing cybersecurity threats are all factors that could affect power grid reliability over the summer.

Watch this: Make Sense of your home's energy usage