‘No Free Lunch’


Any severe storm—a hurricane, an ice storm, a Nor’easter—brings the potential for major damage to the electric system that might require many days to restore, as we saw with Sandy (which wasn’t even the most powerful to hit this area as far as wind speed is concerned) and other storms in past years.
In an effort to mitigate the damage and recovery time, utilities in recent years have been “hardening” their systems—beefier poles, aggressive tree trimming and redundancy on major circuits which is what is going on here. The power lines can be run underground, but there is a substantial cost. There’s no free lunch.
When nearly an entire community looses power for days on end, “normal” life takes on a whole new perspective. If we can’t get gasoline, we can’t get to work if our jobs are 10 or 20 miles away (if our workplaces are even open).
The Long Island Rail Road isn’t always an option for city-bound travelers—the Port branch is an electric train.
The banking system runs on computers. Computers run on electricity. Why do you think the emergency planning folks always advise that you have cash on hand before a storm hits?
It seems as if the conversation surrounding the utility poles gets more bizarre each week.
— Samuel Glasser

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