Saturday, October 11, 2014

No. 26 – December 28, 2012 - Keep the Lights on in Ashtabula

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

This week, between Christmas and the New Year, is known in Germany as The Week Between the Years. For the New Year we make resolutions for things we want to change for ourselves, our families, and our communities. This provides a focus to keep our goals for the next year clear, like a point on the horizon we want to reach. We want our lives to be secure so we, and those we love will be safe. All of us want security, and it is time to get serious, and proactive, about ensuring it happens.

This year we, in Ashtabula, should consider adding to our resolutions for more private matters finding a new direction to ensure our community enjoys reliable, and affordable, electric power.

Recently, we experienced a short outage due to Hurricane Sandy. But today many at the center of the storm are still without power. A hurricane is a natural disaster, but certainly not unforeseeable. In our lifetimes we can expect to see other such disasters and the haunting presence of other threats to power are never far from our minds today.

In a recent article the Department of Defense warned our centralized system for power is extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Other natural disasters, such as Elecro-Magnetic Pulses from the Sun, flooding, and tsunamis can also disrupt the delivery of power to millions for months – or potentially, years.

These facts are frightening to consider. The loss of power leaves our world dark, and all of us vulnerable.

Additionally, a recent article from the Washington Post by Ashley Halsey III, titled, “Nation’s aging electrical grid needs billions of dollars in investment, report says,” quoted the American Society of Civil Engineers, describing the nation’s electrical grid as “a patchwork system that ultimately will break down unless $673 billion is invested in it by 2020.”

Today, there are many systems for point-of-use generation which are affordable, making it possible to detach from the aging electric grid. Financing a change over would cost us far less than the daunting cost of upgrading the present system. And each of us would then be secure. Instead of seeing the lights go out in times of disaster, homes and businesses not directly hit by storms or other events would continue to have power.

With forward planning we can take action here, in Ashtabula. This year, let's resolve to make it happen.

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