Saturday, October 21

infrastructure not being maintained

Few people know that I truly began my career as an investigative reporter with the 4-1-1 Blackout (it occurred at precisely 4:11pm) of August 14, 2003.

Jack Casazza, lifetime member of the IEEE, told me in a phone interview in 2003 that the commission that investigated the blackout was effectively involved in a cover up. Casazza has been on six such panels investigating blackouts in his career. Not once was he asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. In stark contrast, every member of the panel investigating the 4-1-1 Blackout was sworn to secrecy.

What was the big secret?

It is possible (and I believe highly likely) that the 4-1-1 Blackout was a test for the inevitable – cascading blackouts across the country: The Olduvai Gorge. No one is investing into energy infrastructure because there is not going to be enough energy to make such investments profitable. I will be commenting more on this soon. – MK

Dark Days Ahead

By Jason Leopold
Tuesday 17 October 2006
t r u t h o u t | Report

...On Monday, the North American Electric Reliability Council, an organization funded by the power industry, and that was named by federal regulators in July as the new watchdog group in charge of overseeing the rules for operating the nation's power grid, issued a grim report that confirmed an investigative story first reported by Truthout in August: three years after a devastating blackout left 50 million people in the dark in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada for nearly three days, and forced the closure of the New York Stock Exchange, nothing substantial has been done to overhaul the country's dilapidated power grid.

"The adequacy of North America's electricity system will decline unless changes are made soon," said Rick Sergel, president and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Council. "Our economy and quality of life are more reliant on electricity every day, yet the operation and planning for a reliable and adequate electricity system is becoming increasingly difficult. The transmission system requires additional investment to address reliability issues and economic impacts. Expansion and strengthening of the transmission system continues to lag demand growth and expansion of generating resources in most areas."

Today, the US power grid - three interconnected grids made up of 3,500 utilities serving 283 million people - still hangs together by a thread. The slightest glitch on the transmission superhighway could upset the smooth distribution of electricity over thousands of miles of transmission lines and darken states from Ohio to New York in a matter of seconds, bringing hospitals and airports to a standstill and putting an untold number of lives at risk.

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