Saturday, February 5, 2011

What Are They Thinking???

Clearly they were not thinking. Texas was not thinking when they shut down the compressors sending the natural gas here. Public Service of New Mexico was not thinking when they decided to sole source their natural gas. Our electrical coop was not thinking this ever would happen. Well, and frankly it hasn't. Weathermen have been scrambling to find a date when it got this cold for this long. But regardless of that answer it has been a big cluster fuck as the saying goes.

There is still no natural gas in a large section of New Mexico (all made worse because evidently it was ours first and piped to Texas to be refined) nor does anyone have a date beyond early next week. Everyone is avoiding the question of whether the compressors were softly shut down or "slammed down".  But we do know the pipeline was not shut down to remain pressurized so they are talking days of flushing and re-pressurizing so I think the compressors were slammed down by a brown out. BTW you cannot find these at your local Lowe's supply if they are damaged.

But the local politicians have only made the matter worse. Everyone wants to jump in with their emergency statement to calm the public and direct us so the electrical grid does not collapse (the US has one of the oldest and least up to date ones in the developed world). It was over taxed before this nation wide cold snap and now the dependence on electric space heaters is not helping. I received the following by Internet:

Angel Fire Mayor Stuart Hamilton is asking all residents to be aware of an urgent situation involving an interruption of natural gas delivery to Northern New Mexico.  The towns of Taos, Red River, and Questa are affected and have declared a state of emergency.

Although Angel Fire is not reliant on natural gas there is the risk of extreme strain to the electrical grid that will affect the area. We expect the risk will continue throughout the weekend and are asking all residents and visitors to be frugal with their use of electricity.

 The following precautions need to be taken immediately to prevent a rolling electrical blackout. 

Conserve energy to prevent further drain on the system, especially between 5pm-8pm.
  Do not use computers, televisions or other non-essential items that require electricity.
Turn thermostats to 65 degrees or lower.
Stay off cell phones except for emergency situations.
Never use a range or oven as a supplemental heating source.
Do not rely on candles as a heat source.
Make sure smoke and CO detectors are in working order.
Conserve heart (sic) sources as much as possible.

We have no radio station on this side of the mountain. There are only two weekly papers. The internet is the only means of communication. Which probably explains why they keep sending these warnings via the internet and posting on websites. Duh?

There are a lot of people angry with out electric coop because they think they were not prepared for this emergency. Few people realize the interconnectedness of our electric power grid. It is like a huge railway shipping yard. One person puts one train on the wrong track and disaster can strike states away like when the entire northeast corridor went down because of ice storms in Canada.

We are all a little scared and politicians treating us like the demonstrators in Egypt are not helping. And those of you sitting snug and warm with lights and internet should be warned this can happen to you. The United states needs to spend serious money on its infrastructure. And robber barons should not be allowed to suck of profits from public utilities.

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