Why outages occur during rain

Outages during rain is a common phenomenon in Nigeria and most developing countries. A situation that most Nigerians are now accustomed to. But the root causes of these outages remain vague to the average citizen. This is especially disheartening when you consider that most developed countries seldom experience this problem. The question now remains: What is really the cause of outages during rain.

The main causes of outages during rain all boil down to obsolete and badly maintained network which becomes especially vulnerable to short-circuits and cut wires during extreme weather conditions. This may cause trippings in the transformers or feeders and may cause faults to occur. Broken wires also pose the danger of electric shock to humans, a danger that is aggravated in wet conditions. In order to minimize the risk of damage to the network system and danger posed to human life, the network system operator may decide to shut down the power supply until the rain subsides.

Lightning is a common cause of outages. when they strike electrical equipment, they can cause transformer blow outs. Lightning strikes can also cause trees to fall on the power lines causing outages. Flood water can cause damage to both above-ground and underground electrical equipment and this may prompt the network system operator to cut off supply in order to protect the network equipment. Strong winds which usually accompany the rain may cause electric poles to fall and wires to cut. Trees may fall on the power lines as well causing power cuts.

To minimize outages during rainstorms, huge investments are needed to improve the network equipment, properly manage power lines, pylons, poles and trees around them, provide necessary lightning protection and waterproofing to equipment to prevent flood damage and lightning strikes, etc. This may go a long way but will not completely eliminate the outages. This is because weather conditions can be unpredictable and in worst case scenarios, the system will have to be shut down to avoid costly damage.

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