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Power Math United States Science

US Electrical Grid On the Edge of Failure 293

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-investing-in-infrastructure-isn't-sexy dept.
ananyo writes "Facebook can lose a few users and remain a perfectly stable network, but where the national grid is concerned, simple geography dictates that it is always just a few transmission lines from collapse, according to a mathematical study of spatial networks. The upshot of the study is that spatial networks are necessarily dependent on any number of critical nodes whose failure can lead to abrupt — and unpredictable — collapse. The warning comes ten years after a blackout that crippled parts of the midwest and northeastern United States and parts of Canada. In that case, a series of errors resulted in the loss of three transmission lines in Ohio over the course of about an hour. Once the third line went down, the outage cascaded towards the coast, cutting power to some 50 million people. The authors say that this outage is an example of the inherent instability the study describes. But others question whether the team's conclusions can really be extrapolated to the real world. 'The problem is that this doesn't reflect the physics of how the power grid operates,' says Jeff Dagle, an electrical engineer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, who served on the government task force that investigated the 2003 outage."
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US Electrical Grid On the Edge of Failure

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  • Wrong analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halexists (2587109) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:16AM (#44695213)
    So facebook could probably lose a few servers is probably the more apt analogy, yes?
    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:16AM (#44695223)

      No, it needs to involve cars. All analogies, especially those pertaining to something technical, must always be reduced to cars.

      • by halexists (2587109) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:21AM (#44695241)

        No, it needs to involve cars. All analogies, especially those pertaining to something technical, must always be reduced to cars.

        You're right, you're right... my mistake! "Facebook could probably lose a few gas stations and remain a perfectly stable network..."

      • Re:Wrong analogy (Score:5, Informative)

        by msauve (701917) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:32AM (#44695311)
        The goal for a good analogy should always be to score points and win the game.
      • can it be Reaper drones instead?

        'cos if the power goes (yeah OK they *might* have backup generators but a tank of diesel can only last so long), then those things will fly round in a circle until they run out of fuel, then crash.

      • by bdwebb (985489) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @02:05PM (#44698377)
        So you're in your car, right? You and 5 others, also in their cars, are pulling this train of big rigs right? Your new tow rope snaps and puts more tension on the others' ropes. Sally in car 4 has an old tow rope that her dad gave her and it is frayed and can't handle the tension so it also snaps (and hits an old lady in the face, killing her - but that's beside the point). The added tension from 2 failed tow ropes causes a cascade effect and all the remaining ropes snap and send the entire big rig train into the enormous gorge that just appeared in my story.

        Here's the kicker; one of the big rigs was carrying a nuke which explodes and kills EVERYONE...JUST LIKE THE POWER GRID. It's science.

        The moral of the story is that Sally is a bitch for using a shitty tow rope and is responsible for killing not only the old lady but everyone else. Also, what the hell happened to your new tow rope and why did it snap first? You need to get some higher quality emergency roadside equipment. Oh wait...you're dead. Fucking Sally.
    • by rtaylor (70602)

      The fibre backhaul between data-centers being cut is a better analogy.

      Sections of power plants (most have multiple generators, etc.) are taken offline frequently for maintenance.

  • Coincidentally... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) *

    ...I was talking to someone on a forum about a hot-air rework station he bought. It's basically a glorified hair-dryer. Every time he turns it on the lights flicker, and then they dim periodically as the heater turns on/off.

    American house wiring seems to be terrible. There also seem to be a lot of barriers to setting up solar feed-in systems. The concept of a smart grid is unheard of.

    • Re:Coincidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:32AM (#44695305) Homepage

      American house wiring seems to be terrible.

      Based off of a sample size of 1. Nice generalization.

      • by xenobyte (446878) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:18AM (#44695693)

        Based off of a sample size of 1. Nice generalization.

        Hey! That's one better than some of the climate change theories!

        • (I know this was meant as a troll/joke but you're hitting the nail)

          No. They have the sample size of "1 earth". Exactly "1 earth". Of course that's due to the lack of spare earths that we could compare ours too. But it is exactly what makes this whole subject statistically "challenging".

          • by LourensV (856614)

            Based off of a sample size of 1. Nice generalization.

            Hey! That's one better than some of the climate change theories!

            (I know this was meant as a troll/joke but you're hitting the nail) No. They have the sample size of "1 earth". Exactly "1 earth". Of course that's due to the lack of spare earths that we could compare ours too. But it is exactly what makes this whole subject statistically "challenging".

            If all you could measure was the global average temperature then yes, you'd have one sample of a simple pr

      • by dkf (304284)

        American house wiring seems to be terrible.

        Based off of a sample size of 1. Nice generalization.

        Well, I've observed the problem at multiple locations in the US and none in the EU. Still anecdotal, but a quick bayesian analysis does indicate that assuming that there's some kind of issue in the US. I've also had it described to me as being due to the use of different wiring methodologies, but couldn't verify that from personal knowledge. I suppose the effect could be relatively amplified due to the lower voltage and consequently larger currents involved, which would make any resistive load in the wiring

        • Well, I've observed the problem at multiple locations in the US and none in the EU.

          Older buildings in general have shoddy wiring. Pretty obviously the EU has a lot of older buildings than the U.S...

          Modern buildings in the U.S. have wiring that is just fine thanks.

    • American house wiring runs on 110V, which is low enough for voltage drop to be a serious issue.

      The same thing happens in EU house wiring too, but only with very, very high-power appliances like power showers.

      • Re:Coincidentally... (Score:5, Informative)

        by khallow (566160) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:42AM (#44695393)

        American house wiring runs on 110V, which is low enough for voltage drop to be a serious issue.

        Any voltage is low enough for voltage drop to be a serious issue.

        • by Yebyen (59663)

          OK, but for plenty of devices, isn't it more true that the actual amount of power delivered is more important?

          For instance: I got one of these newfangled bitcoin miners that someone with a similar name to one of the company officials (this is where you get your help, I know right?) says draws about 27w on average. He says it peaks at about 35w and you should make sure your wall-wart budgets close to 40w in case of internal losses that weren't measured.

          The wall-wart they send is a 13VDC-6A which is of cours

          • Re:Coincidentally... (Score:4, Informative)

            by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @12:07PM (#44697321)

            P=IV. Good place to start. Now just consider V=IR too, and look at the implications.

            House wiring does have resistance. Not much, but some. So, for the sake of argument, lets assume there is 4ohm in the cables from your transformer to the other side of your house (This is actually rather a lot, but something you might encounter on a long run such as powering an outbuilding), and that you want to run a decently powerful appliance - say, a kettle, 1KW (Make it resistive so we don't have to worry about power factor).

            In a 230V Euro house: P=IV, I=P/V = 1000/230 = 4.35A. Voltage lost in the wiring is thus V=IR=4.35*4=17.4V, or 7.5% of your line voltage. That's not *too* bad - but it'll dim the lights in your shed if you want to make a cup of tea out there.

            Run the same numbers in a 110V American house: P=IV, I=P/V = 1000/110 = 9.09A, voltage lose is V=IR=9.09*4=36V, or 33% of your line voltage. That's... nasty. That's into the territory where your computer crashes and your tea takes too long to boil.

            This is also the reason long-distance transmission is done using very, very high voltages (Between 12KV and 1MV) on overhead pylons. Higher voltage means lower current means less voltage drop, and also means that drop makes up a smaller percentage of your total.

        • by asavage (548758)
          The poster you are commenting on is talking about house wiring. Europeans will have only 1/4 the voltage drop for the same load (as a percent off nominal voltage). This means voltage drop is negligible in an European house. A 2000W load using the smallest wire size allowed (#14 AWG) can go over 45m with less than 3% voltage drop at 240V, but can only go 11m and might trip a 20A breaker if wired with 120V.
          • by khallow (566160)
            Ok, so one has to use slightly larger wires in a 120 V set up. Not seeing the point.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        If the home is built by the typical zero skill contractor then yes. there are issues inherent in the design.
        They use 14 gauge wire instead of 12 gague to save money and cut corners. Then they chain a LOT of outlets instead of home running. Then they use undersized distribution panels and order undersized service because they dont want to run the proper wire for 200 amp service to the street connection point.

        In the 1920's most homes were built to be as cheap as possible. Today they skimp on electrical

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Actually EU houses tend to have thicker wiring and outlets can handle more current, so voltage drops are lower. Having more current available used to be safer too because it would guarantee tripping an RCD, but the newer ones don't have that limitation.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:34AM (#44695325)

      Solar panels is un-American.
      Try to set up a gas-driven backup generator first. You will get tons of support and advice. Then try to add some solar panels "to help a bit when it is running over capacity"
      Then you might be allowed to sneak over to full solar as long as the gas-driven generator is clearly visible.

      • Hey, I mine my own coal and use a coal-powered steam generator to refine oil to gasoline, then I use the gas-driven generator to power my flashlight, which directs a beam at my solar panel, which boosts the volume on my crystal radio. If I drop acid, the tinny sound seems stereo-ish.

        I hope to win a ribbon at the science fair.

        cheers,

    • a hot-air rework station he bought. It's basically a glorified hair-dryer.

      Yep, my hairdryer goes up to 300 degrees celcius.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      glorified hair dryer... Are you that much of a moron? Please go ahead and put your hand in that air stream.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:33AM (#44695315) Homepage

    Basically, the problem can be almost entirely blamed on FirstEnergy of Ohio. They had, in a matter of hours:
    - A software bug in the monitoring tool.
    - No backup monitoring, so when the first one wasn't started properly there was no way of knowing there was a problem.
    - A plant shutdown due to poor maintenance.
    - Multiple power lines failures due to not cutting back trees as they were supposed to.
    - Alarm systems breaking, that were simply ignored.
    - Utterly failing to notify nearby states that there was a problem so they could prevent it from spreading.

    You'll notice that almost all of these problems would not have happened had they not cut corners wherever they thought they could get away with it. And if the US electric grid is in trouble, I'd have every reason to expect that it was other electric companies doing the same sort of thing.

    Can we get Morgan Freeman [wikipedia.org] on the case?

    • FirstEnergy is the same group of folks who run JCP&L here in New Jersey. You can ask their customers how competent they were after TS Irene, the freak October 2011 snow storm and Sandy.
    • by dj245 (732906) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:15AM (#44695657) Homepage

      Basically, the problem can be almost entirely blamed on FirstEnergy of Ohio. They had, in a matter of hours: - A software bug in the monitoring tool. - No backup monitoring, so when the first one wasn't started properly there was no way of knowing there was a problem. - A plant shutdown due to poor maintenance. - Multiple power lines failures due to not cutting back trees as they were supposed to. - Alarm systems breaking, that were simply ignored. - Utterly failing to notify nearby states that there was a problem so they could prevent it from spreading.

      You'll notice that almost all of these problems would not have happened had they not cut corners wherever they thought they could get away with it. And if the US electric grid is in trouble, I'd have every reason to expect that it was other electric companies doing the same sort of thing.

      Can we get Morgan Freeman [wikipedia.org] on the case?

      I can tell you that the industry has really taken this event to heart and learned from it. The linked articles are based on some awfully shoddy conclusions- the scientific article is about interconnected networks in a theoretical sense, and not one of the references has anything to do with the electrical grid. The other link is from "somebody" making conclusions about the power grid based on the scientific article. The grid today is not the same grid we had in 2003. For the last 10 years, NERC [nerc.com] has been throwing down standards and requirements for electrical production and distribution based on the lessons learned in 2003. NERC's website may make them seem like "recommendations", but for many parts of the country, an power station or transmission company must follow their standards if they wish to do business.

      A failure of the type experienced in 2003 is unlikely to happen. Even if a company such as FirstEnergy makes colossal screwups, rules are in place which make the other parts of the grid more robust to that kind of problem. The chance of a large-scale blackout is reduced in the last 10 years (as opposed to the articles arguments that it is the same, or greater than ever before).

      Think about it. Unless you live on the end of a low-population road, your electricity is probably more reliable than any other service you have. The average electric customer in the US loses service for about 8 hours a year. That is 99.9% reliability. The average Japanese electric customer has 5 minutes of outage per year. That 99.999% reliability sounds great, but those extra 9's cost them dearly. The average TEPCO customer pays about 26-32 cents per KWH. My cost in Connecticut is about 8 cents per KWH. I don't want to pay 3-4 times as much for electricity just to have five 9 reliability. Do you?

      • Intresting chart:

        http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z6409butolt8la_&ctype=c&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=s&met_y=gci_2.07&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&dimp_c=country:world&idim=country:USA:JPN&ifdim=country&ind=false&icfg [google.com]

        According to this, the quality of the US poer grid is compareable to Slovenia.

        Unfortunately, this one here doesn't have data for the US: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_ele_out_day-energy-electrical-outages-days [nationmaster.com]

        But 8 hours power outage p

      • Think about it. Unless you live on the end of a low-population road, your electricity is probably more reliable than any other service you have. The average electric customer in the US loses service for about 8 hours a year. That is 99.9% reliability. The average Japanese electric customer has 5 minutes of outage per year. That 99.999% reliability sounds great, but those extra 9's cost them dearly. The average TEPCO customer pays about 26-32 cents per KWH. My cost in Connecticut is about 8 cents per KWH. I don't want to pay 3-4 times as much for electricity just to have five 9 reliability. Do you?

        I wonder if the increased reliability in Japan has to do with being prone to frequent earthquakes. Consider how other posters have complained about losing power after simple rain or wind, even in parts of some major North American cities. Five-9s reliability in a normal, relatively quake-light year may be the difference in keeping most of the grid running even after a moderate tremor (i.e. nowhere near as extreme as the 2011 quake), or getting it back up and running more quickly.

        • by kevmatic (1133523)

          I wonder how much of it has to do with population density. I'll betcha a LOT. I assure you that the Japanese, per capita, has a tiny amount of electrical grid wiring compared to the US. We have a ton of people like me living in rural areas, and we have long power lines feeding us. That's a lot more opportunity for a tree to fall and knock out power to a lot of people. You don't think that might account for the .099% difference in reliability?

          In my area the houses are far enough apart that each house

      • Think about it. Unless you live on the end of a low-population road, your electricity is probably more reliable than any other service you have.

        Well, if you compare it to my telephone land line service, not even close. We have NEVER lost our land line connection, ever. (Not that I'd expect the electrical company to match a perfect record) I keep one old corded telephone around that plugs directly into the jack, and no matter what storm we've had (South Jersey) it has never been out of service once in the 21 years I've lived in this house.It's not even an upscale neighborhood. A lot of people -especially techies- think it's stupid and backwards

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      You'll notice that almost all of these problems would not have happened had they not cut corners wherever they thought they could get away with it.

      Cut corners? Can (or cannot) get away with it? Buddy, those are heresies.
      It's about the magic dust the free market fairy uses to increase efficiency if only let alone and deregulated.

      (grin)

  • Inherently unstable (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ateocinico (32734) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:36AM (#44695347)

    As every electrical engineer knows, an AC transmission system is a quadratic-complex system. And in the sense of both the inherent complexity and the complex numbers involved. There is no energy storage in the system (no inertia), has noticeable delays, and it is tightly coupled. Only high redundancy and decoupling can make the system more reliable. But that is costly. Who wants to pay more?

    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:00AM (#44695547) Homepage Journal

      As every electrical engineer knows, an AC transmission system is a quadratic-complex system. And in the sense of both the inherent complexity and the complex numbers involved. There is no energy storage in the system (no inertia), has noticeable delays, and it is tightly coupled. Only high redundancy and decoupling can make the system more reliable. But that is costly. Who wants to pay more?

      The challenge is balancing the system's ability to self-heal with the system's ability to self-destruct. There is no reason that losing 3 transmission lines (out of a dozen running through the corridor) should have done anything more than taken three lines worth of subscriber capacity offline. If the system "let them go dark" there wouldn't have been a cascading failure. Instead, in an attempt to self heal (something that works great for just one or two lines going down) the system self destructed instead. Identifying where the tipping point is and acting before it is reached is the only real barrier to preventing such a large problem from happening again. Shame it's taken 10 years to really understand the problem.

  • by neorush (1103917) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @08:42AM (#44695395) Homepage
    ....but we are used to regular power outages here in Upstate New York. We lose it for several hours monthly and have an automatic backup generator for these purposes. We have a Gas stove, wood fireplace, and oil lamps so even without the generator it would just be darker and the internet would not work. My point is, the northeast blackout proved just how unprepared most Americans are for a power outage. I understand the technical challenges of living on the 30th story of a building are much greater than for my house in the middle of no where, but there are some basic things you can do to function for a few days without power if need be.
    • Agreed... I'm usually set quite well up for minor power outages. In my old house we used to lose power a lot because of company a block away kept blowing the lines. It was always for like ~15 minutes a week. So combined with being used to going camping I'd make sure I was prepared for a day or two of no power.

      BUT... I hadn't really prepared for being without power for a week... which happened twice in two years due to storms.

      On a personal level it was just mildly annoying since I had tons of warm clothes

    • by hrvatska (790627)
      I live in upstate NY, in the Finger Lakes region. Our power is pretty reliable. There are outages, but nothing like a couple of hours monthly. Two or three times per year we lose power briefly. We lost power for several hours once in the last year. All of our power outages seem to happen during high wind events that cause trees to fall on power lines.
    • by Telvin_3d (855514)

      Most Americans should be basically unprepared for regular or severe power outages. If the basic utilities are failing enough that it's accepted as a regular thing, shouldn't you be up in arms?

      • I'm not saying the article's point isn't valid... I think the country should re-think its grid. If nothing else it would mean lots of jobs for a couple of years. Also... I DO know that in NJ they are re-doing portions of their grid... I see them replacing the high-capacity towers and re-routing things.

        It's a regional thing... America isn't as "bad" as some people make it out to be. In my case, my block (and only my block) would lose power due to a company a couple blocks away overloading something. Unti

    • by Beorytis (1014777)

      I understand the technical challenges of living on the 30th story of a building are much greater than for my house in the middle of no where...

      I would have thought the opposite. A 30 story building can get by with a central standby generator (or central battery/inverter) serving all tenants/condo owners, etc., but there's a greater psychological challenge in that extended outages are rare enough that the money spent installing and maintaining the system seems a waste until it's needed.

    • Upstate New York is a large and diverse place. I've lived here for 30 years and I could count the memorable power outages on one hand. The power has rarely gone out for me in a mix of city, suburb, and rural locations. When it has, it's almost always been just a few minutes.

  • Oh, I see.
    An outage that involved 'the midwest and northeastern United States and parts of Canada...cutting power to some 50 million people' WOULD be very hard to extrapolate to the real world.
    Thank you, I thought otherwise on first glance.

  • Yup... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:02AM (#44695565) Homepage Journal
    I've been seeing it coming for years. It seems like it would be prudent to have other means of power generation at your house if at all possible. You can get a generator that'll run on LP or natural gas, power your whole house and cut in automatically if there's an outage for less than 10 grand. After a three day outage last winter, this has moved WAY up my list of priorities. If I had an exta few tens of millions sitting around I'd just drop a pebble bed reactor in my back yard and watch the vein in that one neighbor's head just explode! Heh heh heh.
    • by swb (14022)

      IMHO, the gold standard is an automatic natural gas generator capable of running the whole house, including central air conditioning (we generally lose power when it's super hot out).

      But these things are like $10k installed, and that's awfully hard to justify when the power goes out twice a year for about 12 hours at a time.

      The LP gas kind seems like the next best choice -- $800 for a Generac 5500 watt model. We usually have at least 20 pounds of propane around the house for the grill and gas firepit, some

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @09:14AM (#44695649)

    The answer to this problem, and also to the problem of grid failure due to extreme weather, is to decentralize power production. Individual homes can often produce as much power as they need with solar and micro-wind turbines. If they tie in to a micro-grid [rmi.org]--essentially a neighborhood-level grid--they can load balance against their neighbors.

    Decentralizing power production yields many other benefits, too. Individuals save tons of money on power bills (the cost of solar, for example, has been dropping dramatically [thinkprogress.org]), the country produces less CO2, and everyone has a lot more money in their pockets they can boost the economy with.

    • by King_TJ (85913)

      I'd agree, but the cost is still a pretty big barrier to entry for most people.

      I'm not just talking about the cost of the power generation equipment itself here, but the big picture. For example, I'm renting a townhouse from a guy right now, and while I'd love to generate some of my own electricity and get off the grid? I'm not even allowed to put anything on his (recently re-shingled) roof. Even running a small backup generator during a power outage is problematic here, thanks to decisions like hard-wirin

      • Generating home power isn't a all or nothing situation. There are levels you can get into that have lower prices for entry.

      • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @10:29AM (#44696379)

        It does not make sense in your situation as a renter, but when you own it does, even with where installation costs and everything else are now. The average American family uses 940kwh/month.

        Let's take the case of a house in NYC, which has both some of the highest labor costs (pertinent to installation costs of solar panels) and electricity costs ($0.35/kwh from ConEdison). You need 26 290W panels to produce the electricity you need. The cost of panels plus installation totals $48.5K. After just the federal incentive it comes down to $32K. The ConEdison-provided electricity costs $4K/yr, so that's a break-even time of 8 years. Most people own their homes longer than 8 years.

        When you factor in the New York State solar incentive of 25% the break-even drops to 5 years. When you consider that ConEdison's price per kwh has increased more than 10% every year for the past 10 years, that break-even time drops to 4-4.5 years.

        If the upfront cost of $22K is still a barrier when you buy that house, you can shop around for energy efficient mortgages. They lend to you at an advantageous rate so you can afford to upgrade the home's energy efficiency, as in they knock of a couple basis points. The savings over a 30-yr mortgage are huge, on top of what you save on the electricity (most solar panels are rated for that long).

        In short, it already makes financial sense to do this stuff, and since the cost of going solar dropped 80% between 2008-2012 it's only going to get easier.

  • A downed transmission line in Ohio or wildfire in California shouldn't affect me.

    http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/national_energy_grid/united-states-of-america/graphics/USA_grid.gif [geni.org]

  • By law, corporations in the US must enhance their shareholders value. That means they're cheap. Cheap infrastructures are not robust. They are built to fail. Another blackout that happened in the NE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_blackout_of_1965 [wikipedia.org]
    • by Torvac (691504)
      inevitable to fail if the basic infrastructure of municipal living gets privatized to feed banksters. next is ? water, police, hospitals ?
  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @11:04AM (#44696733)
    Just a few more classes or methiods away from utter chaos, unless its refactored.
  • Deregulation at work (Score:3, Informative)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @11:24AM (#44696915)

    We decided that regulating how much maintenance work utility companies have to do on their lines stifled innovation, so we deregulated. Naturally, said companies cut back on maintenance to save money. This was covered pretty well in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast, flawed as he may be in terms of his self-importance.

    Democracy Now discussion [democracynow.org] from 10 years ago.

  • particularly when a forest fire burned one of the transmission lines, and another got so hot it sagged and shorted out. we had 24 hours of battery backup in the DA Hotel in San Jose, and when the Liebert went down, so did our service for 3 or 4 days. rotating blackouts for several weeks.

    take any two lines down into any city, and you'll have the same thing anyplace. any two. even a piddly little 40 KV feeder.

  • Free beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by holophrastic (221104) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @11:31AM (#44696995)

    I lived in Toronto at the time. We were without power for about 24 hours. We all banded together in a crisis situation to drink the beer while it was still cold.

    Local bars and pubs were giving it away free. And it was patio-season too!

    And I got to mock all of my friends whose cars were useless only because they didn't know how to manually open their garage doors. Funny.

    I'm looking forward to the next power failure.

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