Friday, August 07, 2020

Okay My Pet Peeve… Utilities Response To Disasters.


All the politicians are jumping up and down over the utilities response to the 600,00+ houses without power. Just go to Google News and type Isaias and you can see politicians up and down the east coast are blaming their utility companies because it will take a week or more to restore power to everyone, it is a favor sport of politicians and residents. 

Okay first up…

Lack of crews on hand for the hurricane…

Well if the utilities calls up say 200 crews from the neighboring states the bill starts as soon they call them up and they are not cheap because it is probably travel expenses and time and half from the time they report to work. What happens if it turns that they only need a 100 crews who will pay for the 100 crews that just sat around? Do you think that the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will allow the cost to be passed on to the rate payers?

The damage from hurricane Isaias had to be survey first to know what type, where, and how much damage the storm cause. A long time ago during a storm I woke up in the middle of the night in the dark after a storm passed and a light shown through the bedroom window. It was a pickup truck from the utility shining a spotlight on the wires as it drove down the street looking for problems. Now picture them doing that for every power line in the state.

I had a friend who worked for Eversource in the engineering department when a storm like Isaias hit they put him in one of those pickup trucks to check the damage. He hated it because he was salaried and all he got was a pat on the back and a hot meal while some of the line crews were making around a hundred dollars an hour. 

There were complaints about not having any crews out until morning…

Overnight the winds were still too strong for bucket trucks. For safety reasons they cannot not use the trucks in winds over a certain speed. How would you like to work in a bucket swaying back and forth in the wind with 15,000 volts just feet away?

A mayor complained about getting the power back on for the home owners.

Which would you connect first? A home or a hospital, firehouse or an emergency dispatcher?

Which would you connect first? A wire that goes to single home or a wire that goes to five hundred homes? 

It is all about prioritizing the repairs.

My house is right behind a state road and the power lines feed the whole south end of town so when that goes out that is one of the first lines fixed. Think of the power network as a tree you start out at the trunk and work your way out to the branches that way you get the power back on for the greatest number of customers quickly.

The governor said that he wants the PURA to look into where all the money went to clear the right-of-way  from trees.

Well the power company crews came down the state road behind my house and I got a letter from them asking permission to clear out their right-of-way. Not every neighbor signed the letters. When they did clear out the right-of-way they only cleared out the overhanging branches and trees twenty feet from the wires.

Picture tree crew coming to your door and asking to cut down the tree that you planted when your children were born, that tree is now 60 foot maple and the power lines are on the other side of the street would you say yes to cutting down the tree?

When I was driving around Wednesday on the way home from the grocers I saw a lot of trees down, not just branches and some of them fell all the way across the road and bring down the wires. (Shh… I drove under one that was being held up by the wires. I figured that it was leaning on it for over 24 hours and it had not collapsed yet.)

Everything is a trade off.

Do you want to have the trees cut 60, 70 feet from the power lines where nothing can fall on them?

Do you want to pay for the utilities to increase their line crews to cover emergencies? 

So do what I do?

I have enough food for two weeks (water… I have city water and if that fails I have a 40 gallon hot water tank.), I have flashlights, and a battery powered  radio. If I need to charge anything during an outage I bought a 12V DC to 120V AC inverter that I can plug into my car. And if I think that we are going to lose power for an extended period of time I pack the freezer with as many plastic milk or juice cartons of water and ziploc bags of water that I can fit in it. If I lose power I transfer half of the containers of ice to the refrigerator side and cover the refrigerator with a couple of blankets for insulation.



  1. Just got power back on today. Well not too bad considering where I lived before I came to the Hartford area. I lived way out in the mountains in a elegant shack 10 miles outside of town and then up the other side of the mountain. I used an outhouse, took me one time to know whey the seat wasn't attached (bring inside so your butt wouldn't freeze off). For washing water, and other household uses I melted snow, and in the summer I had large collection tanks for water. Fresh water was from a young family down the hill whom I babysat for (used their shower too as they didn't want another stinky in their place). I used a wood stove for cooking which had a large oven on top for baking. In the summer I cooked outside. My refrigerator was a hole in the ground that was lined with cement. Let it snow, (I woke up with snow in my house from Blizzard Larry) let the winds blow, let the rains come down, quick shower anyone, so the few days without power, AC, didn't bother me. I have city water, and a gas stove, luxury compared to the way it was and sat outside in the shade and caught a nice breeze and made plans for my garden next spring and summer. A micro-burst happened across the lots from me and torn down a few trees. I had no power so I didn't know my area was declared "tornado alley." I still ate delicious food, slept very well in the heat and was glad I wasn't in the harbor area of Beirut. The man 3 mobile homes from me had a generator that ran all day and half the night. A very selfish amerikkkan if there was ever one. So that is my story and I am more determined than ever to overthrow the Capitalist system.

  2. Long Island got hit bad, and the worst area was where my mother lives. Fortunately she got power back about four hours after it went out, but half of the community is still in the dark almost 5 days later.