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Last post Author Topic: Goodnight Irene  (Read 7841 times)

40hz

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Goodnight Irene
« on: August 27, 2011, 04:32:31 PM »
My town, along with much of the eastern seaboard, is bracing for some unusually heavy weather.

Screenshot.png

Wishing all who are in the path of Irene a safe night and a safer tomorrow.

 :Thmbsup:

mouser

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 04:36:42 PM »

jgpaiva

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 04:55:10 PM »
I'm sure all will go well, 40hz! Don't forget to check in tomorrow so we know everything's OK ;)

db90h

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 07:37:15 PM »
I happened to be at Atlantic Beach, NC (bulls-eye) this last week, my once yearly chance to take the cheapest vacation I can on my anniversary. They issued a sudden mandatory evacuation on Thursday afternoon, though we planning to leave Friday morning anyway, and had done all we wanted to do. Saved me money on that last night at the hotel, as I got a refund. Anyway, there was no warning on the evac, it was sudden and NOW. So, we got outta there, headed back home. The peer right beside us, at the Sheraton (next hotel down), is where NBC news has been broadcasting from. Half that peer is gone now.

The flooding is going to be the big issue. What happens to the northeast, particularly NYC, I dunno.. this is an unusual event, and it could be disastrous. I really do not want to see another city under water, like was the case of New Orleans ;o.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 08:48:43 PM by db90h »

Edvard

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2011, 08:45:21 PM »
Yes, please do keep us posted  :tellme:

J-Mac

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 02:02:21 AM »
The local news here is ridiculous! In this area (SE PA) we're having nothing more than what a Nor'easter usually brings, and we get them several times a year. But they are trying to make this into the "News Story of the Century". Showing their field correspondents (Ha!) standing outside earlier today (Yesterday now, I guess) saying the winds are wicked and it's getting tough to stand outside and the background shows trees and shrubbery not even moving a little bit! When the forecast said the Hurricane had dropped down to a Category 1 you would think someone killed their pets or something. Each of our local news stations now has maybe two news anchors and about 8 or 10 "weather experts". Someone has apparently decided that the news is WEATHER - even when there is none! Saw a reporter today standing in front of a large graphic showing wind gust speeds and the top of the range was 50 mph. He said how disappointing that was and that even gusts at that speed are "extremely dangerous". That's another thing - they haven't reported expected wind speeds at all; only "maximum gusts", which is not the problem; it's sustained winds that cause most damage.

After living south of Miami for years and having Andrew bring our house down around us in  1992, this is downright silly!

Jim

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2011, 07:43:00 AM »
+1 w/J-Mac.  :Thmbsup:

The reports of our total destruction and the extirpation of all sentient life has been greatly exaggerated. ;)

We're about 3.5 hours away from the eye passing over us in SW-CT and nothing major is happening so far.

Some rolling blackouts and a lot of rain seems to be about it. Which is to say no excitement beyond what a Nor'easter provides.

And as J-Mac pointed out, we get those several times a year.



Onward! ;D
« Last Edit: August 28, 2011, 07:51:35 AM by 40hz »

cranioscopical

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2011, 08:14:20 AM »
Which is to say no excitement beyond what a Nor'easter provides.

Good to learn that you're safe!

Irene's been waiting six years to make a comeback.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2011, 09:03:45 AM »
The wife and I were discussing the insane level of hype this morning. Why the media thinks creating wide spread panic is helpful is beyond me... But being in Florida I'm rather use to it.

Glad to here you rode it out ok. :)

db90h

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2011, 12:21:43 PM »
Did you really expect different from the media? The funny thing is that when something big does happen, it always catches them off-guard.

J-Mac

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2011, 12:28:30 PM »
Did you really expect different from the media? The funny thing is that when something big does happen, it always catches them off-guard.

That's because they now have all weather people and got rid of the news people.   :P

Jim

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2011, 10:45:42 PM »
The wife and I were discussing the insane level of hype this morning. Why the media thinks creating wide spread panic is helpful is beyond me... But being in Florida I'm rather use to it.

Glad to here you rode it out ok. :)

Insane media hype?

Which do you prefer:

Media Hyena Snipe
Media Hyena Penis
Media Hyena Spine
Meanie Hyena Dips
Aha Die Enemy Spin < I like this one. :)
Aha Die Semi Penny


Media hype is the norm. Everything is blown out of proportion. Except things that matter. And another 16,000 children under the age of 5 starved to death today...
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2011, 07:22:22 AM »
Well...it's a beautiful sunny and cool Monday morning in SW-CT. Perfect weather for a lot of cleaning up. We lost about 6'-10' of beach from storm erosion. And a couple of houses down by the waterfront collapsed due to the tidal storm surge. But other than that, the damage is about Nor'easter level. Lots of trees and debris to be removed from roadways. Minor to moderate home damage.

Unless you were by the beaches:  :tellme:

house.jpg

Our biggest problem right now is power. During the storm there were a reported 770,000 customers known to be blacked out. At 7:30 this morning, it was down to 585,000 (47% of all CT electric customers) - so a standing ovation to the electric company's (there are three in CT) road crews for what they've done overnight to get power restored. :up:

Still begs the question as to why utility lines are still being hung on exposed poles in this day and age. C'mon USA - it's 2011! Let's get these things underground and out of harm's way. If we can drop $1 billion every three days being in Iraq, we can spend a little money here. Make it a project for the military if that will get it funded. Electricity is a strategic resource so it shouldn't be hard to justify it with all the "homeland security" legislation that's been passed. Call it an anti-terrorism measure if that's what it takes to get the ball rolling.

Oh well...off to get my GF into work. She's a field operations manager for one of our lovely State agencies. Our newly elected and overly vocal (to say nothing of micro-managerial) Governor has ordered all personnel in for 8:00am. She's not part of an "essential service" or "first responder" agency - but Connecticut's 'child of a lesser god' has spoken! ;D

Onward! :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 07:28:03 AM by 40hz »

steeladept

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2011, 05:03:06 PM »
Still begs the question as to why utility lines are still being hung on exposed poles in this day and age. C'mon USA - it's 2011! Let's get these things underground and out of harm's way. If we can drop $1 billion every three days being in Iraq, we can spend a little money here. Make it a project for the military if that will get it funded. Electricity is a strategic resource so it shouldn't be hard to justify it with all the "homeland security" legislation that's been passed. Call it an anti-terrorism measure if that's what it takes to get the ball rolling.
Simple.  Money.  Exposed lines are cheaper to run, cheaper to fix, and cheaper to maintain.  Since this isn't a government project, but rather a private firm.  Even as heavily regulated as it is, it is still considered private and therefore gets no funding from the government.  Therefore, to put everything underground would actually increase prices dramatically, and not JUST for the installation.  Maintenance costs go up as well.  Moreover, believe it or not, there is MORE OFTEN outages related to underground installations than there are for above ground installations.  They may be more exposed, but people generally avoid the above ground ones.  The in-ground installations are subject to all manner of rodent damage, water damage (insulation does break down over time), crushing, etc.  But the single most common cause of in-ground damage is human digging. 

People digging, even when properly permitted, either ignore, or misunderstand where a live line is running and cut it during digging.  I can't tell you how many times contractors cut our lines while putting in septic tanks, sewer lines, or just new buildings while I was in the military as an electrician.  We would mark it, have safety huddles with the contractors, and they STILL would cut lines thinking they were over to one side further than we marked them.  Overhead lines only failed from human interference when someone hit a pole hard enough to drop it completely (it is a funny site to see a pole hanging by the line - and they are strapped on that tight), or does something completely stupid.  Sure, they are more often subject to weather issues, but the lines rarely cause power issues because they are exposed.  It is almost always the fuses to protect the lines or the power stations that are the issue, and those issues occur far less than human intervention issues.

Shades

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2011, 05:57:02 PM »
Except for the "big" grid (everything above 30.000 Volt) all goes underground in the Netherlands...electricity, gas, water, phone and cable-TV lines are actually in quite close proximity from each each other. All these lines come into a house at one central point as well.

In all the time I spent in the Netherlands (32 years) only once or twice I have been without electricity because of no fault of my own. Because of the rather dense population over there the electricity grid is setup quite similar to the internet. There is practically always a way for electricity to reach your house.

I even dare to say that the grid is so stable that the only way you will not have electricity is when you don't pay the bill or hit the circuit breaker yourself.

Maintenance is more expensive for sure, but the fact that you don't need too much of it helps a lot. The last house I lived in over there was more than 50 years old and the original copper wiring still functioned fine. The transformer building that controls the power for the whole neighborhood was at least that old as well. And the doors to access it did not show signs of too much use either.

I honest to god do not understand why people want power lines above ground. Here in Paraguay everything is above ground. Besides being ugly, the power is not stable, people crash their ATV cars into the poles way more often than everybody likes. The same is true for the water lines. These do go underground, but break so often it is unbelievable. And the maintenance crews f.ck up the streets so badly, it is amazing.

Ah well, enough ranting for the day

steeladept

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2011, 06:10:19 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I believe underground is THE way to go for mostly aesthetic reasons; but the original post was why are they still above ground.  And the reason is cost.

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2011, 07:44:20 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I believe underground is THE way to go for mostly aesthetic reasons; but the original post was why are they still above ground.  And the reason is cost.

It's not so much an issue of cost as it is earnings.

mrburnsdesk9bq.jpg

The utilities won't make the investment because they are operating like standard corporations even though their semi-monopoly status and favorable tax treatment begs the question as to just how much the public benefits from their continued "favored son" treatment.

Don't know how it works in other states, but in CT the favorable tax breaks some utilities were given in order to modernize their systems following Hurricane Gloria (1985) - and later on the big winter blizzards in the early 90s - largely went into replenishing pension plans that (illegally) went underfunded and boosting paper earnings.

It's only been recently that our Public Utility Commission started standing up to them by denying these companies rate increases that previously used to be "rubber stamped" whenever they were asked for.

What can I say? For the most part, the United States has the finest government (national, state, and municipal) that money can BUY.

 :-\

« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 07:51:22 PM by 40hz »

steeladept

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2011, 08:03:06 PM »
I disagree for the simple fact that earnings could be increased through tactful negotiations with the PUC.  "It costs us x more to put everything underground, plus, it will increase our maintenance costs by y per month".   Meanwhile, that 'y' would not be seen as an actual accrued cost for MANY years during which earnings would appear to blossom.  Then, when it DID hit, they would go back to the PUC to ask for another increase due to the increased costs of maintenance.  By then, the greater earnings would be seen as normal for that company and they could make the case at that point that they shouldn't be punished for increased costs incurred.  Like it or not, this is frequently how companies like this increase their earnings on their "regulated" industry status.  The only other way is to absorb other companies, and that is a costly (and typically unprofitable) venture.

True costs, however, that are not allowed to be passed on to the customer, though, do cut into earnings, and underground is ALWAYS far more expensive for the electrical industry.  It is also far more dangerous, believe it or not due to confined spaces, poison gas, oxygen deficiencies, and many other hazards completely unrelated to electricity.  In fact, it is not uncommon for an electrician to don something akin to a scuba suit just to do their job underground.  These costs can not be passed on readily because they are considered one time equipment costs.  This cuts into earnings while not being accounted for in the payments.

So I guess indirectly we are saying the same thing, just looking at two different sides, but I still stand by costs as being the driving factor as that can not be regulated while earnings are limited by the maximum charges the PUC allows.

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2011, 08:14:00 PM »
I disagree for the simple fact that earnings could be increased through tactful negotiations with the PUC.
.
.
.
earnings are limited by the maximum charges the PUC allows.

Our PUC doesn't have absolute say any more. We're part of a "regionalization" plan that they're insisting (with some success) falls under federal rather than state regulation.

And their negotiations are seldom tactful. It's more like: if we don't get what we ask for you can expect outages.

 ;D

J-Mac

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2011, 09:30:21 PM »
I worked for one of the largest electric utilities in the south and our profit margin was predetermined. X% above costs. Rate cases brought before the regulators were purely for examination of the cost and property accounting. Most states have similar systems for their public utilities. Is NH really that different 40hz? (Not sayin' it isn't; I honestly don’t know).

Thanks!

Jim

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2011, 02:29:24 AM »
@J-Mac - I'm gonna have to check. I'd suspect you are correct (and I'm wrong) since you've been "in the business." I'm probably guilty of oversimplifying and mixing up two (or more) completely different but related utility regulation issues. Because now that you mention it, I do seem to recall something about how the profitability was fixed but there were some major disputes as to how that profit was being calculated. Which is what steeladept was saying in his comment about it being all about costs rather than earnings.
 :)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 02:35:49 AM by 40hz »

xtabber

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2011, 10:04:48 AM »
The catastrophic damage from Irene did not come from wind downing power lines but from the huge amount of water dumped on already saturated ground in a very short time.  I live in Western MA, probably about 125 miles north of 40HZ, and the eye passed within miles of my house.  It had already been downgraded to tropical storm status and there was no wind damage in our neighborhood -- we had far more from a micro-burst during a frontal storm a few weeks ago. But we did get about 6 inches of rain in less than 20 hours. Some of the nearby hill towns got as much as 9 inches.

Vermont and the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks in New York suffered more from the rain than we did, as is typical of areas west of the path of a large hurricane.  Most of the state of Vermont is currently a disaster area, with many communities completely cut off by flooding. Search Google or YouTube for "Queechee Covered Bridge" or "Bartonville Covered Bridge" to see some stunning videos.  Upstate New York is also suffering major flooding, with many roadways (including parts of I-87 and I-90) still closed.

Buried electric lines don't help when you have mostly flood damage, and may actually have contributed to the problems with Metro-North commuter rail lines and Amtrack in the areas surrounding New York City.

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2011, 10:48:49 AM »
Buried electric lines don't help when you have mostly flood damage, and may actually have contributed to the problems with Metro-North commuter rail lines and Amtrack in the areas surrounding New York City.

metro_north_train_by_greg_canuel_1.jpgGoodnight Irene

In CT (New Haven Line) it was mostly downed trees and power lines that were the main problem for MetroNorth.

The NH Line commuter trains use an overhead catenary wire/pantograph combo (like a trolley - see above) rather than the more common third-rail system for train power. (And the NH rail power mains are all above ground AKAIK.)

Local flooding and the storm debris in and around the stations didn't help either.

As of 8/30/2011 11:30am we still have about a half-million customers (45% of the state) without power.

But we're still better of than the folks up in VT from the news we've been hearing. The VT flooding situation is beyond anything we've seen down here. Best of luck to all those up in green mountain country.

 :(

« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 10:54:14 AM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2011, 11:33:44 AM »
@40hz - Man I've done the why don't they put this stuff below ground rant myself a few times ... But in seems that in a contest between Technology and Mother Nature ... Mom wins every time.

40hz

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Re: Goodnight Irene
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2011, 12:25:19 PM »
@40hz - Man I've done the why don't they put this stuff below ground rant myself a few times ... But in seems that in a contest between Technology and Mother Nature ... Mom wins every time.

No argument from me on that point. You're 100% right.  ;D