HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Major weather-related power outages are becoming more common across the U.S. because of climate change, and Pennsylvania is part of that trend.

A new report from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission reveals that there were a record number of “reportable power outage events” during 2021.

“A reportable outage is when you have 2,500 customers out for at least six hours,” said Terry Fitzpatrick, CEO and president of the Energy Association of Pennsylvania.

Last year, there were 63 such events in Pennsylvania — the highest number since the commission began collecting data in 1993. Compare that to 46 the year before. The data is a compilation of Pennsylvania’s 11 electric distribution companies, including PPL.

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“With the weather becoming more extreme over time, we have to continue to invest because people want the lights on, they don’t want their refrigerators to turn off,” Terry Fitzpatrick said.

Saturated soil sending trees into power lines is the main reason the power goes out. That doesn’t surprise abc27 Chief Meteorologist Eric Finkenbinder.

“The number of thunderstorm days but then also coupled with the amount of rain that we saw from Ida, so it was a wet summer. That had a lot to do with a lot of the downed trees with the saturated soils,” abc27 Chief Meteorologist Eric Finkenbinder said.

The Energy Association of Pennsylvania says that aging infrastructure needs updating.

“The utilities have put a lot of money into their systems over the past decade. Storm hardening is part of the emphasis there — stronger poles, more resilient wires,” Fitzpatrick said.

New technology is helping utility companies identify a power outage and restore service faster.

“Can you eliminate them entirely? Well no, and if you tried to design a system that would eliminate them entirely, it would be very, very expensive,” Fitzpatrick said.

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Where is the money going to come from to upgrade infrastructure? The Energy Association of Pennsylvania says the way they would expect that to happen is through higher utility bills.