Most consumers will lead their daily lives without ever thinking about lightning strikes or the power surges that go with them. For the most part, this is an occurrence that will almost never have an effect on you, but this is generally because of the surge protection systems that protect you without your knowledge. You might think that the only effect that a power surge will have on you as far as a direct impact is if it occurs in a way that destroys the circuitry of your computer or smart TV at home. You probably have your home computer equipment plugged into surge strips or possibly a more elaborate UPS battery backup and surge protection combination, all of which protect your home electronics if some sort of malfunction was to occur. Transformer explosions are one of the most common forms of malfunction that can cause power surges to your home, but lightning strikes to equipment in the field can also have the same effect. Even the slight fluctuations in power levels that happen regularly in some areas can have a damaging effect on your computer equipment, shortening its life span if it is left on during the times when surges happen. This is not, however, the only impact that surges have on your life.
Power surges as a result of lightning strikes at industrial facilities have an impact on your life indirectly, generally through interruptions of service or possibly higher rates being paid for services. The industrial facilities that are affected by lightning strikes and power surges are nearly always providing some form of product or service that you are consuming, and the rates or prices that you pay for these things are directly connected to the cost of production. If lightning strikes happen regularly, the facility will put in place protection systems that will isolate the damage to the strike point, instead of the power surge that follows compounding the damage. This happens when equipment that is connected together through power lines or through data transfer lines is damaged when the surge after a lightning strike moves down the lines and overwhelms equipment connected downstream. The circuitry of these components is not capable of handling the additional levels of electricity, and loses functionality when the circuitry is damaged. This all needs to be repaired and restored before service can once again go back to normal, and this adds to the costs that must be covered by consumers through their payments for the product. These additional costs may not seem like a lot, but over time consumers are overpaying for services that could be produced cheaper. In addition, the services that we count on may be interrupted, causing inconveniences and potentially even major problems. In the case of telecom and the services they provide, outages during inclement weather can prevent the critical connections to emergency services which can save lives. For all of these reasons, adequate surge protection systems and devices must be encouraged for all business and residential customers.