The paper concerns the assessment of blackout hazards in the power systems. On the basis of statistical data from more than one hundred failures in power systems that affected the world in the last fifty years, the analysis was carried out regarding the number of people affected by a blackout, power losses in the system, duration of a failure and its direct causes. The paper also describes the methodology of risk analysis and vulnerability analysis of the extraordinary events occurrence in electrical power systems resulting in failures. The structure of risk analysis was based on the bow tie model, identifying threats, unwanted events, barriers and consequences of a system failure. Moreover, particular attention was drawn to the impact of the power reserve deficit in the Polish Power System in the coming years on the increase in the risk of a blackout failure.