1 of 1
Can we protect our electrical connections?
Posted: 02 November 2012 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  8385
Joined  2005-04-17

http://news.yahoo.com/gas-stations-scramble-sandys-aftermath-211534207—finance.html

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/yorkers-prepared-fourth-night-darkness-134523649.html

My questions are: 1. Shouldn’t we be developing better methods in electrical service? 2. How can we can we begin to protect ALL lines and the grid?
Predictions by meteorologists are for more ‘super’ storms driven by our warming climate (whether or not assisted by humans). Many are still without power from the east coast here to Ohio. Most of us could shelter the weather well IF the power grid
did not suffer failures. It’s easy to see how quickly we fall into extreme risk when electricity fails.

While the power lines in our immediate area are buried and safer, those we connect to further out are not so if those fail, we do too. Many developments, like ours, do not permit generators either in part because we have no safe areas to store gasoline inside or out and because we are tightly packed, the danger to all would be horrific. Even so, generators will only supply a few days and are not a reliable source of power.

But everything, not just individual homes, depends on electricity. Our entire societal infrastructure is dependent on this one vital utility access. While our lines were buried at the onset of the housing building’s development, most other areas are decades old and lines are as antiquated as the first buildings. I have not heard of new methods either in the way new lines are connected. So my questions again are: 1. Shouldn’t we be developing better methods in electrical service? 2. How can we can we begin to protect ALL lines and the grid?

 Signature 

SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2012 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5150
Joined  2005-01-27

When faced with a thunderstorm… unplug everything. Hide the table silver. And do like Asterix and his fellow Gauls: be afraid, be very afraid.

 Signature 


“By the sweat on our brows, and the strengths of our backs…Gentlemen. Hoist the Colours! And you, madam, I warn you, I know the entire Geneva Convention by heart!”
Trust me.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2012 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6930
Joined  2005-10-21

The problem is that buried lines are expensive to maintain, upgrade, or even install in the first place. If something goes wrong with a buried line, you have to dig the whole thing up. Something knocks down a suspended line, you can have it up and running again in an hour. It’s also a lot cheaper, by an order of magnitude or so, to run the lines than it is to bury them. And heaven help you if, while digging up the lines, you go a foot to the left and hit the fiber cable line… or the gas main…

 Signature 

1: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If it does what it says, you should have no problem with this.
2: What proof will you accept that you are wrong? You ask us to change our mind, but we cannot change yours?
3: It is not our responsability to disprove your claims, but rather your responsability to prove them.
4. Personal testamonials are not proof.

What part of ‘meow’ don’t you understand?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2012 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  8385
Joined  2005-04-17

It’s the above lines that fall and the above ground transformers that explode down the lines Robin.  These are not fixed in an hour, not when you have miles and miles affected and that’s the problem.  Buried or not buried, how do you approach a better idea?

Unplugging everything only protects a single dwelling.  If no current gets to that dwelling it’s a moot point. 

How do you make ALL of this safer and more durable…period?

 Signature 

SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2012 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2899
Joined  2005-06-15
hulitoons - 02 November 2012 10:43 AM

While the power lines in our immediate area are buried and safer, those we connect to further out are not so if those fail, we do too. Many developments, like ours, do not permit generators either in part because we have no safe areas to store gasoline inside or out and because we are tightly packed, the danger to all would be horrific. Even so, generators will only supply a few days and are not a reliable source of power.

 

Sounds like what’s needed is a really efficient battery system together with solar panels that can be stored away and deployed after a bad storm. I don’t know how close or far that is from reality. But if these storms become more common then somebody has to come up with a solution.

 

 Signature 

I’m not some ordinary moron.
I’m an Oxy-Moron!

Mental Giant: A very tall person who is more than slightly confused.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2012 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5545
Joined  2007-03-14

Robin is right.  The cost and problems associated with buried power lines make it easier to string them on poles and towers even if they are more susceptible to weather damage there.  With power lines downed the company can sent out several crews to work at the same time and know exactly where the damage is.  With buried lines if there is a problem it would take a lot longer to find the damage in the first place.  There is equipment that will give an indication of a break and approximate location in a line but it still comes down to guesswork in many cases.  The cost of installing and maintaining an underground feeder is triple the cost overhead lines.  And because they do require regular maintenance and inspection you could expect your yard or the block or whatever to be dug up on a regular basis in order to inspect the lines and junctions or you could expect a whole network of tunnels to be built to hold the lines.  Which in itself would be tremendously expensive.  Be aware that I’m not talking about a line that might go into a house but the main feeder lines, which require a lot more care.  Not to say that system isn’t used in many areas but they generally only bury lines in areas where it’s not feasible to string lines.

On the other hand the Amish have the right idea.  I’m pretty sure they weren’t bothered too much by the loss of electricity during the storm.  A fireplace or wood stove do wonders for keeping a place warm in emergencies. 

Peter - You can buy systems like that for backup electricity in emergencies.  They are fairly costly though and the battery bank takes up a lot of space.  We have a couple of UPS systems at work that would be able to provde power to a house for a couple of days as long as it was used only for necessities.  The efficiency of solar panels at the present time is one of the limiting factors.  A bank large enough to supply power for a house or to charge a battery bank big enough to provide a constant stream of power to a house, would require an area much larger than a typical rooftop.  The technology is getting better but it’s still not at that point yet. 

One good solution would be broadcast power.  Unfortunately we are nowhere near that with todays technology.  But you wouldn’t have to worry about lines.  However you would still have to build the towers but they could be built in such a way as to avoid the majority of problems caused by weather.  At the present time weather related problems tend to be mostly localized to a particular area at one time.  If you want to worry about something consider the effect of an electromagnetic pulse that could conceivably knock out the whole grid at once.  This could be initiated by a nuclear burst in the atmosphere set off by a rogue nation or group.  And it would take much longer to recover from something like that.  However there are ways of protecting the grid from that and I have read where some systems are being updated to prevent that eventuality.  The whole system is a long way from being secure though. 

 Signature 

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

Seen on a tshirt - “If life gives you melons you may be dyslexic”

When life hands you lemons make apple juice. Then laugh while life tries to figure out how you did it.

My blog
My Website

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2012 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  8385
Joined  2005-04-17

Gray that’s a lot more informative.  It’s easy to see just how vulnerable we are and how utterly dependent.  Even water is both cleansed and pumped via electricity.  Just water use alone assures health vs. vast death. 

Erik also suggested that each time lines are repaired there are upgrades.  In New York, where many of the lines are in areas nearly 200 years old, these will also be upgraded as they walk through and do searches and repairs.  Even though these will be far from being ‘protected’, they will at least be somewhat better. 

Solar panels are not feasible when there is extended periods of heavy overcast and darkness as you said too because the storage is limited.  That was pretty easy to understand when I googled and researched them.

In the meantime the only power that can be stored and used would be gasoline and propane.  One gentleman on Amazon had purchased a generator I was looking at, not a small one or a huge one, but somewhere in the middle range.  His power went out this past Monday and came on again yesterday (Friday).  He used 40 gallons of gasoline during that time and had to change the oil twice.  This was also a ‘cord-pull’ start machine.  I would not have the physical power to turn this on, nor would have have access to 40 gallons of gasoline OR be able to get to a station to refill (I don’t drive and there is nowhere here to store that much fuel). 

For us the better way is to have a propane heater (which I have looked into), fill the bathtub so I have water to flush the toilet, a camping stove to cook on (also propane), plenty of flashlights and batteries and my power pack battery.  Propane goes further,easier to store, has less fumes and the heater is for both outdoor and outdoor use.

The idea of the towers you mention gray do sound feasible in the future.  Right now, well, we are ALL much more vulnerable than I had realized, just to the weather and never mind an enemy!

 Signature 

SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 November 2012 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Five Star Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  8385
Joined  2005-04-17

“We are going to have to look at a ground-up redesign,” Cuomo said of the power and fuel supply systems. “With power outages, you paralyze the nation, and chaos ensues.”

In particular, Cuomo noted New York City’s problems, largely due to the surge of seawater that inundated utilities lying 15 to 20 stories below ground.

“That’s a brilliant engineering masterpiece, yes, but if Manhattan floods, you flood all that infrastructure,” he said. “We don’t even have a way to pump it out.”

http://news.yahoo.com/cuomo-ny-superstorm-damage-could-total-33b-180012730—finance.html

 Signature 

SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 1