The Staff of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has asked the Center for Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy (CEEEP) to assess the vulnerability of New Jersey to electric power outages. This assessment is a challenging and critical task. Power outages may be described by their frequency, duration and magnitude. They can have a range of initiating events such as severe weather, human causes (physical threats, cyber security, human error, and high electricity demand) and equipment failures. This report provides an overview of the electric power system and reliability, identifies the types of initiating events that might lead to large-scale power outages, and presents a database of New Jersey weather related power outages that begins to categorize their frequency, magnitude, and duration.
There are real and significant threats to New Jersey and the nation’s power systems including, but not limited to, severe weather. Historical records can provide information about the frequency, magnitude and duration of blackouts and other major power outages but do not account for emerging and increasing threats such as changing climate, physical attacks, and cybersecurity.