Who Needs Electricity On Such a Lovely Day?
I don't trust that Oncor power-outage map -- mostly because it doesn't show operating-on-emergency-back-ups Unfair Park HQ on the in-the-dark list, or maybe we're just the unlucky 26 sans juice in Dallas. (Says 1,088 are sweating it out in Fort Worth.) Course, it could be worse: We could be living in Bluffview, which went with but mostly without all week. Then again, I've always wanted to live in Bluffview, which would mean not being able to afford the electricity bill anyway.
Catherine Cuellar, spokesperson for Oncor, says the Bluffview outage was due to an "unlucky trifecta -- a car hitting a utility poll, a tree hitting a line and a transformer being replaced." That, and one angry resident, add up to news stories galore. But, yes, power outages are likely -- not rolling blackouts, just simple outages. Because, as Cuellar says, "When everybody's demand for ice-cold air conditioning is high day, night and weekends, that, combined with the very high ambient temperature, makes it hard for our equipment to cool, and the more it's working the harder it is to maintain at times."
At which point we had long talk about the state of the infrastructure (till Smart Meters, virtually "unchanged since the days of Thomas Edison"), how much fun it can be to compare and contrast electricity rates, how much a single thermostat degree's worth on your electrical bill ("Every degree you drop increases your bill by 7 percent"), the ERCOT warning two weeks ago ("due to a loss of generation ... reserves are good") and how Oncor is "grateful that, thanks to the successful conservation efforts in the area, there hasn't been the need for rolling outages." At which point she said Oncor recommends you set the thermostat to warm and head to the mall. Excellent.