Outage/Brownout/Blackout

outage

Alternative words for power cuts or failures, when the electricity goes off and you can’t use any of your appliances. I guess they stopped using cut as a word because it sounds so final and all the power companies want to do in these cases is avoid such a sense of finality.

Outage sounds sort of gradual like seepage. It can also refer to computers or systems when they don’t function. This seems to be referring to the computer crashing or the network going down.

Brownout, popular in the US. also seems less dramatic than a blackout, which has connotations of war and the result of deliberate action. A blackout is when there is complete loss of power and a brownout is when the electricity utility reduces the voltage and therefore quality of the power being transmitted through the system.

Outage and brownout have definitely become more popular in recent years in different English speaking countries.

Power outages have been reported in different parts of the city due to the bad weather conditions we have been experiencing.

The Electricity company has reported a complete blackout in the Northern area after a fire in a substation yesterday.