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Vast Swath of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts, Regulator Warns

Drought, plant closures and supply-chain woes threaten electric grid

The sun rises over power lines near Imperial, California.

The sun rises over power lines near Imperial, California.

Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg
Updated on

A vast swath of North America from the Great Lakes to the West Coast is at risk of blackouts this summer as heat, drought, shuttered power plants and supply-chain woes strain the electric grid. 

Power supplies in much of the US and part of Canada will be stretched, with demand growing again after two years of pandemic disruptions, according to an annual report. It’s among the most dire assessments yet from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a regulatory body that oversees grid stability. 

“It’s a pretty sobering report, and it’s clear the risks are spreading,” John Moura, director of reliability assessment and performance analysis, said in a press briefing. “I certainly do think it's our most cautionary tale here.”