White House calls for increased grid spending

NEW YORK (AP) - An Obama Administration report says the cost of weather-related power outages is rising as storms grow more severe and the U.S. electric grid gets older. It calls for increased spending on the nation's electric power system.

Power outages cost $18 billion to $33 billion per year, according to the report, a figure that has been rising steadily over the past 20 years. That can rise to $40 billion to $75 billion in years with severe storms such as 2008's Hurricane Ike and last year's Superstorm Sandy.

The White House report says spending to make the grid stronger and more flexible will save the economy billions.

Thunderstorms, hurricanes, blizzards and other extreme weather caused 58 percent of all outages since 2002 and 87 percent of outages affecting 50,000 or more customers.

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