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I don't remember people going without power for a week after a storm. The crews from the power company got to work immediately and fixed things right away.

What's different now?

Those power companies have downsized their maintenance crews. They do less preventive maintenance, so the problems are more frequent and more severe. And when the problems happen, the reduced workforce takes longer to do the job.

As a result, people who can ill afford to pay for it have to throw out spoiled food, have no way of cooking, risk life-threatening heat, live without hot water, and search for alternative shelter. Not to mention less severe "inconveniences" like not being able to communicate with anyone because you can't recharge your cell phone or get internet access.

The utility company saves a few bucks and pushes a big cost onto all of us.

Rich folks don't mind. They have back-up generators. They can move to the vacation home a few days early.

Champions of small government, like Ohio Governor John Kasich, call out the National Guard and ask for federal aid to help the understaffed utilities, forgetting that every dollar that he gets to bail out the utilities is a dollar that we can't spend on hundreds of other things that are more important to our communities, including being better prepared for the inevitable emergency.

The sad thing is that people accept this as the new normal. When did we lose our common sense?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Stupefying Ray Aimed at Earth (5+ / 0-)

    That is my explanation.  

    You would think people would be aware that there is an infrastructure that has to be there to deliver electric power.  

    There are more demands on the grid.  There are more people and the amount of amps they pull out of the system has greatly increased.  50 years ago people didn't have microwave ovens or computers.  They probably only had one TV set and mostly were not running AC systems.  If they had AC, the systems didn't have the capacity they do now and didn't draw the juice.

    But the reduction in personnel has to be a huge factor.  No where in the public service sector are there better examples of really competent people who work hard and are willing to jump on it no matter the weather conditions or the time.  

    The GOP campaign to demonize public employees has done a lot of damage over the past couple of decades.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:44:21 AM PDT

  •  I was a kid 50 years ago, too. I do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, JeffW

    remember more frequent power outages. But they didn't last that long. Well, except for the big Northeast blackout in 1965, but that only lasted 12 hours. And it was considered a BFD at the time.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:01:17 AM PDT

  •  I don't remember waits like this either (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, Tinfoil Hat, slowbutsure

    when I was young, and I'm not as old as you are.

    Now, AEP wants us to pay for their cost of cleaning up after the derecho.  I say to AEP that you should consider getting one of those fancy insurance policies from Lloyd's of London to cover this cost.

    Last year, AEP Ohio earned $1.9 billion in profits, $700 million more than the previous year
    Maybe they shelled out in the tens of millions to cover the overtime for the lineman.  To them I'm sure it's a drop in the bucket.

    "You're not allowed to sell your countrymen out to multinational financial corporations anymore and still call yourself a patriot." --MinistryOfTruth

    by Kurt from CMH on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:01:45 AM PDT

  •  Link for above is below: (0+ / 0-)

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:02:17 AM PDT

  •  Here's one article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tinfoil Hat

    Outages increased in the past decade while R&D for energy declined.

    Our first strategy for greater reliability should be to expand and strengthen the transmission backbone (at a total cost of about $82 billion), augmented with highly efficient local microgrids that combine heat, power, and storage systems. In the long run, we need a smart grid with self-healing capabilities (total cost, $165 to $170 billion).

    Investing in the grid would pay for itself, to a great extent. You’d save stupendous outage costs-about $49 billion per year (and get 12 to 18 percent annual reductions in emissions). Improvement in efficiency would cut energy usage, saving an additional $20.4 billion annually.

  •  When I was a kid, 50 years ago, our family didn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have power.  We waited three years after applying to Rural Electrification to get on-line.

  •  Well in Los Angeles in 1992.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    After the Northridge earthquake, I was living in a poor neighborhood called Sun Valley, near Burbank. The earthquake knocked out power to a large portion of the city, including Sun Valley - and for some reason (gee, maybe because it was a poor area? Nah, that couldn't be it) we were the last section of the city to have our power restored.... a full 2 weeks after the quake. Not just MY HOUSE, the whole city of Sun Valley! Good, good times...

    Romney 2012 - A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #261)

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:48:01 AM PDT

  •  We lost our common sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, JeffW, lorzie

    when Reagan said, "Government is not the solution, government is the problem" and so many Democrats, who thought government enforcing civil rights was a problem, believed him.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:55:35 AM PDT

  •  I don't recall any power outages (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when I lived in Recife, Brazil or Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Nor when I was stationed in Okinawa or Iceland or Canada. My power did go off in the Philippines, once, but that was when someone pulled the outside breaker switch as a prank.

    Here in coastal California, I have mini-power outages every time heavy morning dew or a very light rain shorts out the transformers (salt deposits from the sea air) and the system drops my power while it switches around the problem. Sometimes it can't switch around the problem, and power stays off for hours. This isn't a problem caused by some crisis, this kind of weather is routine where I live. A week or two of clear weather followed by some morning fog will do it.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 11:05:48 AM PDT

  •  Is it the same if you have REA / co-op power? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When I was a kid (40-plus years ago all the way up to 1990) we had lights from REA / Co-op rural electric companies. Outages that lasted more than 12 hours only followed really severe weather -- things like the ice storm the year my oldest son was born.

    I think the CO-OP model is where we need to be going with EVERYTHING in this country.

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 11:42:33 AM PDT

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