The Power Log

A short note on why I post these blackout summaries… Sure, there are some technical lessons. But more than that, I think it’s important for us in the business of providing power to understand the bigger picture—that is, the cultural expectations of electric power and the societal impacts of blackouts. While sometimes I think that we in the United States expect too much reliability, there are also many good reminders in these reports that electricity isn’t just a matter of convenience.

Brazil was hit by a blackout affecting 6 million people across 11 states. Despite record high temperatures and reduced output from hydroelectric plants, the government insists that the blackout was not the result of a capacity shortage, rather a transmission line short-circuit—as if that was better.

Winter ice in Maryland and Deleware knocked out power for 158,000 customers.

A localized blackout affected only the hospital in Moreno Valley, California. It was expected to take 23 hours to repair.

In Guinea, people are rioting in protest over the lack of electricity. The problem has been going on for 2 months, since a problem occurred at one substation. A regional governor promised local protestors that power would be restored next week.

Ongoing nightly blackouts in Warri, Nigeria—blamed on road construction—has residents fearful of a criminals.

Unspecified equipment failure knocked out power to 5,400 in Lexington, Kentucky. Service was restored to all but five within 9 hours.

Backup generators failed to operate during recent power interruptions at the Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa. Two employees have received written reprimands for not performing necessary tests and not ensuring that the generators were fueled.

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