S&C Electric Company’s ‘2021 State of Commercial and Industrial Power Reliability Report’ Reveals Companies Reporting Monthly Outages Doubled in the Last Year

New Study Finds Power Reliability Continues to Hinder U.S. Companies
Year Over Year, Sparking Need for Grid Investments

CHICAGO, March 29, 2021 – S&C Electric Company, a grid innovator improving power reliability and delivery worldwide, today released the “2021 State of Commercial and Industrial Power Reliability Report” (C&I Report). Now in its fourth year, the C&I Report was written and researched in collaboration with Frost & Sullivan. The 2021 edition surveyed 253 C&I companies whose yearly revenue averages $75 million. The report was created with a variety of objectives in mind, including measuring the duration and frequency of outages C&I companies have experienced and subsequently quantifying the organizational and monetary impacts of those outages.

Dividing the research into four primary U.S. geographic regions, the C&I Report reflects the sentiments of five major industry categories: manufacturing, healthcare, education, small franchises, and retailers. Among the most notable findings from the C&I Reliability Report are:

Companies reporting monthly outages doubled over past year

Survey data revealed a dramatic increase in companies reporting short-duration outages as their most common power outage. Companies affected by momentary outages lasting less than five minutes jumped from 20 percent to 40 percent in one year, signifying outages are becoming more prevalent and noticeable because of their impact on operations. The report also uncovered that 44 percent of companies lost power monthly or more frequently–double the percentage from last year–indicating companies are seeing more negative impacts that could jeopardize critical operations and potentially risk their reputations as reliable goods-and-services providers.

Companies stand to lose more than $1 million in yearly revenue

The increased frequency in power outages is proving to be costly for C&I companies, and they started implementing new systems or installing equipment to measure outages and track outage expenses. Survey data showed a typical outage cost $100,000 or more for nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of companies. Most (80 percent) of these C&I companies experienced monthly outages, resulting in an annual loss of $1.2 million. This is an overwhelming cost and underscores C&I companies’ need to mitigate outages.

The high-cost impacts of poor reliability triggered 58 percent of companies to install a system or equipment to measure outages, and of the companies measuring outages, 77 percent have, or will have, an outage-expense tracking system or equipment.

Pressure grows to alleviate issues

The survey found more than half (52 percent) of companies deem it very important for power to be restored within one minute. However, many utilities do not report power interruptions lasting less than five minutes, which represents a disconnect between utilities’ priorities and customers’ needs.

With C&I companies’ high expectations for power reliability and resiliency, it’s apparent they are willing to invest in solutions to mitigate outages. In fact, a portion of companies would be willing to pay their utilities a premium for a 20 percent reduction in outages, yet nearly one-third (31 percent) of companies felt they were not given the opportunity to talk with their utility directly about their reliability concerns. This presents an opportunity for utilities to discuss the extent of C&I companies’ power concerns and gain an in-depth understanding of the solutions these businesses need.

“It’s evident power outages have been a constant pain point for C&I companies over the last four years, and these businesses are placing an even greater importance on improved power reliability and resilience,” said Brian Levite, S&C Regulatory Affairs Director. “Even a few seconds without power can have a costly impact on a business, and we’re seeing these C&I companies invest in new systems and equipment to measure outages and track the corresponding expenses as a result. However, there are opportunities for C&I companies and utilities to address reliability concerns and work together to mitigate these issues.”

To unpackage this report in detail, S&C and the National Association of Manufacturers will be hosting a webinar discussing the important role reliability plays in businesses’ operational success as well as strategies to move the needle on reliability improvements. 

Read the complete “2021 State of Commercial and Industrial Power Reliability Report” at sandc.com/reliability.


S&C Electric Company

Publication Date

March 30, 2021