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The Effects Of Winter Power Outages
Much of the Midwest has withstood record-low temperatures recently, but none have endured as much as Minnesota. Early last week, with temperatures dropping far below zero, over 8,000 residents of Minneapolis lost their power. This winter blackout forced them to endure the coldest night in a generation without heat in their homes.
Xcel Energy, the electric power provider in the area, said that there were multiple outages all over the Minneapolis metro area last Tuesday night. They further stated that equipment failures on power poles had caused the bulk of the problems. Extra work crews went out to help the regulars because of the dangerous cold. Nevertheless, it still took much of the night to restore power.
“It’s getting cold fast,” said Erin Anzalone, a Minneapolis resident. He went on to explain, “If the power doesn’t come back on, we’re talking to family and some friends in the area, see where we may spend the night.” The Anzalone family’s power went out around dinnertime and the power company was projecting they would be without power until 3:00 the next morning.
What Are Authorities Doing About Winter Power Outages?
One could easily think that by now our country would have learned how to deal effectively with storm-related power outages such as these. Yet, the reality is that we haven’t. Our government at all levels is largely hamstrung in their ability to do much. This is due to the fact that corporations provide us with our electric power. Adding more regulations or fines isn’t going to help solve a problem that the energy industry doesn’t want to have and can’t control in the first place.
So, what’s the energy industry’s plan? Fast repairs. That’s it. While there is some redundancy in the electric grid at the regional and national level, providing a means of supplying power to an area is troublesome. Even after the loss of a substation or critical line, that sort of redundancy doesn’t exist at the local level. Also, the cost of providing two means of receiving power for every end user is highly prohibitive.
This predicament leaves you and me waiting on the repair crews as usual. After all, we need them to restore the power quickly when storms and other problems cause it to go out. Notwithstanding, that means work crews are going out in the midst of storms to do those repairs. Often, the same weather conditions that created the problem in the first place hinder the work of those repair crews.
What You Should Do About Winter Power Outages
The truth is that nobody is protecting us in these situations. Power companies are motivated to do something to provide excellent customer service and prevent the loss of clients. Still, that motivation doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get the power on as fast as you like. In some cases, they just can’t due to the extent of the damage.
This is one of many reasons why we need to prepare for power outages with some sort of off-grid power system. Even though it is unlikely that you will be able to produce enough electricity to heat your home, there are many other things that you and I need electric power for on a day-to-day basis. Whatever capability we have of producing and storing our own power is going to make it easier to get through these situations.
We also need some alternate means of producing heat, especially those of us who live in the far northern parts of the country. While we may not have storms as severe as what hit Minnesota on Tuesday, there will always be storms. Moreover, extreme weather will always cause power outages. The only question is when will we receive the next storm that cuts out our electrical power?
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: How To Heat Your Home With Solar Heating
Or download our free 28-page report on the top 9 threats to the power grid: Black Out
What are your thoughts on the best ways to deal with winter power outages? Let us know in the comments below.