How can an entire country lose electricity? Well, the majority of people in Pakistan recently lost power for several hours. If you’ve ever had a power outage, you might’ve heard the reasons as family members scramble to find light and use cellphones to check with the power company. And power outages are not unusual—the weather is one big reason power outages occur, as storms often damage power lines. In fact, in many parts of the country, power is turned off in the event of a major storm that could cause damages and spark a fire.
A country-wide outage is still unusual. Pakistan’s electricity officials believe the power outage could’ve been triggered by an engineering malfunction at a power plant, causing the whole system to shut down. Power outages especially affect public transport that depends on power and healthcare facilities, like hospitals, where doctors rely on electricity to run essential equipment.
In the United States, the largest power outage happened in 2003 in the northeastern part of the country due to faulty systems in Ohio. The Northeast Blackout, as it’s now known, caused power failures throughout eight northeastern states and southeastern Canada for up to two days.
Curious about power? Here are three interesting facts about electric power in the United States.
1. Fossil fuels are the major sources of energy used to generate electricity. Natural gas is the largest source of power in America, followed by coal and, finally, petroleum fuel. That means the power generated by burning natural gas, coal, or fuel is used in many of our homes.
2. Renewable sources form about 11 percent of America’s power, and that includes solar and wind energy.
3. China produces and uses the most energy in the world, but the United States is a close second!