Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Can't Duke Keep the Power On?

Well, it happened again. I came home from work today and sure enough the clock on the stove and the one on the microwave announced that again we had a power outage. I’m not sure if the hamsters at Duke’s generating plant got tired or a misdirected squirrel got toasted in the lines. All I know is that we lost power … again!

Now I realize that I live on a semi-rural road, but Harrison Township is hardly considered the boondocks (unless, of course, you happen to live in Hyde Park…but that’s another story). I have not done a scientific survey and I have not documented every outage, but I can say that there are more power outages in our area than there should be.

My wife and I joke about it. The sky turns dark, the clouds billow and before the rain falls or the lighting brightens the sky, off go the lights and the computer and the TV and clocks and the stove and... Clear days and peaceful nights are not immune to these interruptions of our power. In fact, most seem to happen when Mother Nature is on her best behavior.

It is not just my house. My office is across the street from one of Duke’s two main distribution sub stations serving all of downtown Cincinnati. There, too, the power goes off several times a year.

For sure the big rain storms will happen and the errant driver hitting a pole can’t be prevented. Those are not the outages I am complaining about nor the once in a century wind storm of September 2009. It is the almost weekly interruptions that are driving me up the proverbial tree.

So why is this happening? One would think that with our level of technology such interruptions would be the exception, not the rule. I really don’t know for sure, but I have a hunch. I think that a high level of prevention and infrastructure improvements have fallen victim to the bottom line. Expenses for these things really don’t immediately help Duke’s profit. With companies looking for the short term gain, long term costs can get put aside. This is especially true when the consumer has no option. We aren’t going to make our own electricity. Switching to another provider doesn’t help since Duke and Dominion or any other provider still must use Duke’s lines and distribution system.

So what are we to do? Where did I put that flashlight? Thanks for letting me vent.

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Anonymous Travis Estell said...

Tangentially related to your post... It's disappointing that in the US, we don't bury our power lines in many of our urban areas. Yes, it is more expensive to do so, but you have far fewer power outages due to downed trees, wind storms, etc. Additionally, you make the area look much more attractive. Neighborhoods like Clifton Heights, Walnut Hills, and OTR should have burried utilities.

1:35 PM  

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