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Author Topic: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker  (Read 1280 times)

Offline WV_Brian

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Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« on: August 20, 2012, 08:08:59 PM »
Disclaimer: First off I want to say that if this topic has been discussed at length I apologize for opening another. Also I am leaving out the names of the companies mentioned below just to cover myself.

If you are like me and have tried to talk to people about the aspects of being prepared you find yourself meeting with a great deal of resistance. I have gotten every  response from, “I have always gotten by” to “those things really don't happen, someone will always be there to take care of us,” and to be honest  for quite some time I fell somewhere in between. That was until I had the chance to see, first hand, the state of our country's power grid. This for the most part is what started me down the road of prepping.

A couple years ago I had the chance to go to work for a utilities inspection company that does business all over the US. I was a foreman with a crew with responsibilities such as inspections of power lines, poles, substations and storm damage assessment, as well as other things associated with the power industry. During my time with them I worked in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Michigan. One thing that remained constant no matter where I worked was the condition of their power distribution system was frightening.

A few examples of things I witnessed are, one company has a sort of “don't fix it till it hits the ground” policy. During my time with them I saw poles set in the 1920's supporting lines with 6+ inch trees growing through the lines. In more than one occasion I saw the lines arcing through the trees during rain. These lines would traverse miles and miles of line feeding power to communities all over. For another company one of my crew members kicked a pole and his foot went completely through the pole. We found this to be the case with hundred of poles. In downtown Detroit I found poles set from 1912 to 1925 carrying lines feeding the city with no more than a ½ inch of shell to the pole. In fact when our pole restoration crews came in to repair the poles when they would wrap the metal bands around the poles they would literally break completely in half.

Now if this was the case with a few scattered poles, or even a few hundred, my thoughts would be so what. However, this was much more than several hundred poles, a few hundred bad lines and systems set from the 20's to the 70's delivering the power needs of 2012.

I know this was long, but I hope it shows one possible, and in my opinion probable issue that we could see in our lifetime.

Offline Prepper Recon

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Re: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 08:45:28 PM »
Great post. I am surprised we didn't see any outages like India had this summer. I suppose it is just a matter of time.
"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish mans devours all he has." Proverbs 21:20

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Offline nkawtg

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Re: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 10:48:41 PM »
Prepper Recon said: "I am surprised we didn't see any outages like India had this summer"
 
Maybe this is why...
US Power Distribution:

 
Indian Power Distribution:
Psalm 109:8

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 11:55:39 PM »
Y'know, every time I think "we are soooo screwed up," it helps to look at another part of the world.  Doesn't fix the broken stuff here, but it lends perspective, takes away some of the panic.
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

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Offline hillclimber

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Re: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 02:05:22 PM »
Well up here in the North East, the grid can't be real good.
I base my opinion on my workplace. I work at a fairly large sawmill, and over the last few years we've been getting a pretty good deal on our electricity because we entered into a power management program.
To put it in a nut shell, when the power company calls and says they're having a peak usage day, we pull the plug. I mean shut down everything. No lights, water coolers, everything...
That may not sound like a big deal, but I'm talking about around 80 people being sent home on that day.
That translates into a LOT of money. I don't know exactly what we save on the power, but it has to be a lot, or they'd never go for it.
"A shotgun, a rifle, and a 4 wheel drive, a country boy can survive"

Offline cmxterra

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Re: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 03:04:48 PM »
Prepper Recon said: "I am surprised we didn't see any outages like India had this summer"
 
Maybe this is why...
US Power Distribution:

 
Indian Power Distribution:


Good point.
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Offline Zef_66

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Re: Power Grid Condition - From an Ex-Power Utility Worker
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 12:38:55 PM »
Well up here in the North East, the grid can't be real good.
I base my opinion on my workplace. I work at a fairly large sawmill, and over the last few years we've been getting a pretty good deal on our electricity because we entered into a power management program.
To put it in a nut shell, when the power company calls and says they're having a peak usage day, we pull the plug. I mean shut down everything. No lights, water coolers, everything...
That may not sound like a big deal, but I'm talking about around 80 people being sent home on that day.
That translates into a LOT of money. I don't know exactly what we save on the power, but it has to be a lot, or they'd never go for it.

My company is part of a similar program, but not quite to the same extreme. They can ask us to limit our usage. But by no means do we ever have to shut down. Probably a similar program though.
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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? ~ Proverbs 6:6-9