Are Rolling Blackouts Becoming the New Normal?

We’ve been hearing more and more about rolling blackouts the past few years.  

They’re also being called rotating power outages and load shedding. Whatever they’re called, I’m afraid we’re going to hear a lot more about them going forward.

Periodically, electric company decision-makers order temporary rolling blackouts in areas where the grid is in danger of failing. This is usually associated with extreme weather, including storms or severe heat or cold.

The idea itself is a sound one. Better to have a limited number of people lose power for a few hours than for millions to be in the dark for an indefinite time period.
But the necessity of rolling blackouts is proof that our electric grids are vulnerable to all sorts of problems. Including extreme weather, physical attacks, cyber attacks, and even squirrels climbing into the wrong places.

Elliott Clobbered the Country

As recently as late last month, Winter Storm Elliott wreaked havoc on a good chunk of the nation.
Combined with an arctic blast that reached all the way down to Florida, the storm featured 79 mile-per-hour winds, huge amounts of snowfall, at least 95 deaths, and more than 6 million power outages. Another 1 million-plus outages were recorded in Canada.
This historic bomb cyclone and blizzard combination also included record-setting cold temperatures in the upper Midwest and Canada. The Buffalo, New York area received more than 55 inches of snow over a five-day period.
Over 18,000 flights were canceled and countless road closures occurred. But not before thousands of motorists were stranded on snow-covered and wind-swept roads. Deaths occurred from the storm in an unheard of 20 different states, plus Canada.
Among the many power outages were 250,000 in Maine, 180,000 in North Carolina, and more than 100,000 each in Virginia, Tennessee, and New York.

Energy Companies Respond to Crisis
A number of states, including North Carolina and Tennessee, instituted rolling blackouts in order to keep the grid from collapsing.
Duke Energy in North Carolina issued an apology to customers on Christmas Eve regarding their rotating power outages. Really what they were apologizing for was a lack of advance notice, not for the rolling blackouts they felt compelled to enact.
Julie Janson is executive vice president and CEO of Duke Energy Carolinas. She addressed the historic cold weather and high consumer demand for electricity caused by Winter Storm Elliott.
“We are sorry for what our customers experienced,” she said. “We regret not being able to provide customers as much advance notice as we would have liked, and acknowledge that the outages themselves lasted far longer than we first expected.”
A spokesperson from the Tennessee Valley Authority said that demand for electricity was running nearly 35% higher than during a typical winter day.

Winter Storm Results in Investigation
Elliott was such a massive and devastating storm that it resulted in a joint investigation between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
At the peak of the storm, which swept across the U.S. with deadly cold, blizzards, and destructive winds, more than 60% of the country was under a winter weather alert.
A month earlier, NERC predicted that power supplies could be “seriously challenged” by a major winter storm. The organization warned that a large portion of North America was at risk of insufficient electricity supplies during peak winter conditions.
Jim Robb is NERC’s chief executive. He said, “In addition to load shedding in Tennessee and the Carolinas, multiple energy emergencies were declared and new energy demand records were set across the continent.
Still fresh in many minds was Winter Storm Uri, which struck in February 2021 and battered the central and southwest U.S. Hit especially hard was Texas, where generators and gas supply lines froze, over 4 million customers lost power, and more than 200 died.

Light Breaks Through Darkness

As we’ve seen, power outages can occur with little or no notice. And that’s whether they are caused suddenly by extreme weather or other reasons, or if they are instituted by local officials as rolling blackouts.
It’s crucial for Americans to have an alternative power and light solution when these events occur. Light in a home during a blackout can reduce the risk of falls and a variety of other problems.
That’s why I recommend our “solar lighthouse” for every home. The 4Patriots SoLantern not only delivers ultra-bright light indoors and out, but you can also use it to power your cellphone.
Perfect for blackouts, front and back yards, campgrounds, and RV trips, this lantern provides 800 lumens of light and five light settings. It also recharges with just the sun, and has a long-lasting battery life. Lightweight for portability, it can go anywhere you do.
And right now, you can take advantage of our Buy 4, Get 1 free deal. 

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