Electricity problems in the USA

This video from the USA is called 7/3/2012 PEPCO’s FAILURE down wire fire Forest Glen, Maryland.

By James Brewer in the USA:

US death toll rises from heat wave and power outages

4 July 2012

So far, 23 deaths are attributed to the heat and related violent storms that ravaged the eastern United States on Friday. More are expected due to unrelenting heat and power outages. As of Tuesday night, 1.4 million remain without power in the seven-state area affected by the storms.

Huge trees were blown down by the up to 90-mile-an-hour winds from the derecho storms, knocking out power lines over wide areas.

The utility company for the Washington, DC area, Pepco, is the focus of widespread criticism for its failure to restore power in a timely manner. The situation is similar for customers of other utility companies in the eastern US.

Pepco claims that the sudden nature of the storms left them totally unprepared for the situation, and that the wide area affected by the storms meant that nearby crews could not be called in to assist damaged areas.

“We called five times, and they keep saying ‘Oh yeah, you’re a big priority,’” Mary Lou Kenary, DC-area resident told the Washington Post. Kenary, her husband, daughter, and severely disabled grandchild have been waiting since Saturday for Pepco to remove an electrical wire-covered telephone pole and tree from their driveway. “We called again this morning, and they said they had no record of us,” Kenary said. “We’re just so frustrated at how this has been mishandled.”

In fact, utility companies such as Pepco have been systematically cutting corners to boost profitability, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans.

The outdated method of distributing electricity through wires strung above ground makes it inevitable that storms will causes falling trees and branches to knock out power service. Utility companies in the US have universally refused to invest in a basic upgrade to their archaic infrastructure.

In addition, these private companies are all seeking ways to cut their labor costs with layoffs and takeaways from their workers. Currently, Con Ed, the power provider to New York, has recently locked out 8,500 employees for rejecting concessions.

Day to day life in urban neighborhoods has been totally disrupted. In many neighborhoods of Baltimore, residents have no running water in addition to no power. Residents across the region who have been without power have been forced to throw away the contents of their refrigerators due to the outage—a waste of much of a family’s monthly income and nutrition.

Vital infrastructure has also been disrupted. The loss of traffic signals in the DC area is causing dangerous driving conditions. Many smaller pediatric and other clinics without power have had to call on local hospitals to store their supplies of vaccines, which have to be refrigerated. For several days, 911 emergency call centers had no way of responding to those in need of help.

Municipalities have publicized lists of cooling center locations for people trying to stay cool, either for lack of air conditioning or electricity. These locations are often public libraries, but no resources have been provided to accommodate those seeking to avoid the high temperatures, either to keep them open longer hours, or open up special rooms.

Con Ed lockout puts New York in danger of power outages during heat wave: here.

Thousands of locked out Con Edison workers rally as New York City faces brownouts: here.


Workers Protest Con Ed Lockout: “They Couldn’t Raise Rates on Customers … So They Went After Us”. John Knefel, Truthout: “As negotiations between union reps and management to settle the Con Ed lockout continue far from the public’s view, the workers are making their presence known in the street. Union workers have staged a protest outside Con Ed’s main headquarters on 4 Irving Place in New York City every day this week and will likely continue to do so until an agreement is reached”: here.

Pepco cuts exacerbate Washington, DC power outages: here.

Relentless heat that has blistered the world in recent years is so rare that it can’t be anything but man-made global warming, top Nasa scientist James Hansen said at the weekend: here.

3 thoughts on “Electricity problems in the USA

  1. Pingback: JPMorgan banking scandals worse and worse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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