The AP seems to have great interest in the electric grid lately. There have been various stories recently and some investigations done by their teams. I highlighted one here earlier on purdycool.com. Another is located here (reported by WTOP). The AP analysis unsurprisingly showed weather as the leading cause of electrical outages. That's not too surprising when you think of weather effects - snow, ice, fires, heavy winds/rains, tornados, hurricanes, etc. It does indicate that the number of incidents has increased over the past decade with spikes in 2008 and 2011. The spikes are likely outliers due to heavy weather events, but the trend is certainly interesting. Without treading into the global warming/climate change debate, it is interesting to note the data increase. They don't go into a discussion of why the recent increase, so the cause could be related to various things (like increased surface area of electric grid locations as suburban sprawl increases in various areas). What's also interesting is that companies are spending billions to upgrade the systems to better weather-proof. That's real money.