The Costs and Benefits of Power Outages

Categories: Spend

Our city (Columbus Ohio) is 4 days into an electrical outage for nearly half the city. Our power through American Electric Power continues to come and off, giving us some relief, but never sure if we should buy ice or move refrigeratable goods to our parent’s units.  My wife and I are experiencing some benefits and costs to all of this, so thought it might be worthy of a blog to list a simple cost benefits analysis:


  1. Eating out more
  2. Ice
  3. Batteries
  4. Candles
  5. Gas to buy more ice
  6. Cold drinks
  7. More ice
  8. Time off work if you are hourly and your employer is without electricity
  9. Thrown away food
  10. Trips to the laundromat
  11. Eye strain from reading with flashlights
  12. More ice


  1. Less gas needed to drive to work if your employer is without electricity
  2. Paid time-off possible
  3. More time to get to know neighbors
  4. Time with relatives
  5. Less TV and all media in general
  6. Time to relax, meditate, pray, and just listen to nature through open windows
  7. Less money spent on groceries
  8. Relaxing in coffee shops
  9. Time to read

Numerically the costs seem to outweigh the benefits, but some of the benefits are more meaningful.