Friday, July 4, 2008

Third world country?

Crossed wires shorting out, Troy, Illinois. Af...Transformers arcing
Image via Wikimedia Commons
We are without electric power. A bad series of storms roared through W Michigan on Wednesday afternoon, knocking power out for about 200, 000 customers. As of this writing we've been on generator for 36 hours... we might get power back today, might not. Consumers Energy isn't very clear on that point.

Now, we are fortunate. We have a portable generator. It doesn't meet all our needs, when the well comes on other things flicker and so forth, but it's better than nothing. Others do not have generators ( Others also are not dropping 80 USD a day to run their generators, or getting smelly gas all over everything when they refill them every 4 hours, so maybe they're ahead. :) )

I am not complaining but given that this is our 5th power outage this year, it does make one wonder if this is just bad luck, or something else. I'm inclined to think that yes, storms are getting worse, that Global Warming is for real... that, coupled with the heavy regulation of the power industry (which leads to disinvestment and a grid that can handle only small outages, (local, regional and national) means that we are more susceptible to upset.

I am not complaining but it does make one feel like one is living in a third world country.

OK maybe I am complaining :)

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Mackensen said...

Yeah, I heard that you got it worse than us. Our power flickered last weekend but stayed on. We've had two major power outages this year--last month we were without for two days. I'd say the greater issue is our habit of stringing power lines through trees instead of burying them ;).

MessedRocker said...

Funny how you say heavy regulation leads to the infrastructure getting worse, because when California completely deregulated it caused a catastrophe.

I think there is a happy middle to consider.

Lar said...

California was not "completely deregulated". The demand side (prices charged to the consumer) never was. So naturally, with the supply side deregulated (prices paid for power), the outcome was quite predictable... Power companies had to pay what electricity was worth, while not being allowed to charge what it cost them. Massive bankruptcies were inevitable.

Anyone citing California as an example of "complete deregulation" may want to do more research.