Fire EMS, Firefighting, Technical Rescue

Responding to Our Nation’s Aging Electrical Infrastructure

Issue 10 and Volume 170.

By CHRIS GREENE and TIM FRANK Providing electrical power to our nation is a great responsibility. Despite the billions of dollars invested in electrical energy, our appetite for it is outpacing many energy providers’ ability to produce it. As our nation’s electrical infrastructure ages and demand increases, so does the potential for power disruptions resulting from chemical intrusion, line fatigue, faults, and electrical distribution systems operating beyond their capacity. It is not uncommon for portions of a city’s electrical utility to be operating at 120 percent capacity, forcing the provider to take drastic measures to avoid damaging the equipment. An example of these measures is a “brownout.” This is a coordinated reduction of electrical service to a specific area in an effort to reduce catastrophic damage to other portions of the energy delivery system. The provider is in the business of receiving income for delivering power to the consumer. When…

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