The rate at which electrical blackouts strike has been escalating rapidly, says CNN, citing research at the University of Minnesota:
Experts on the nation’s electricity system point to a frighteningly steep increase in non-disaster-related outages affecting at least 50,000 consumers. During the past two decades, such blackouts have increased 124 percent — up from 41 blackouts between 1991 and 1995, to 92 between 2001 and 2005, according to research at the University of Minnesota. In the most recently analyzed data available, utilities reported 36 such outages in 2006 alone.
The CNN story relates a new twist in the great American migration to the indoors in summertime: on Staten Island, Little League baseball games were canceled one night in July this year, so that the ballpark lights would not consume energy needed to power home air-conditioners.
Meanwhile, in the Baltimore-Washington area, peak power demand this summer has exceeded last year’s demand by 77 percent. And on late afternoons this week, the state of Texas is experiencing the highest peak demand it has ever recorded, beating out the previous record, which was set . . . last week. Gulf Power in northern Florida is meeting peak demand, but just barely, as demand approaches its total generating capacity. The company says about half of summer electricity consumption in its region goes for air-conditioning.