November 20, 2012 - On the afternoon of June 29, a severe thunderstorm tore across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. By day’s end, the intense storm, called a “derecho,” had left 22 people dead and millions without power (some for as long as a week) in six states and the District of Columbia.
The power outages left customers fuming. But more frustrating was a sense that blackouts were becoming normal. In 2011, more than 3,000 outages in the U.S. affected 41.8 million people, according to the Eaton Corp., which tracks blackouts. That’s up from 2,169 power outages that affected 25 million people in 2008.
Volatile weather is largely to blame for the increase in outages. But the underlying issue is an aging energy grid that, according to a 2005 report by the U.S. Navy’s Inspector General, is “stressed by relentlessly increasing demand, operating at near capacity with decreasing staffs and reliant on electronic components.” read more>>>