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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Million Still Without Power–Were Utilities Prepared?

Steve Music works to replace a power line damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in Buxton, Maine Monday. (AP)

Steve Music works to replace a power line damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in Buxton, Maine Monday. (AP)

Days after Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene hit the east coast, over a million homes remain without power.

In New York, Governor Cuomo reportedly had to track down a senior executive of National Grid in Europe, where the utility company is headquartered.

In Connecticut, a dairy farm is running milking machines and fans to cool cows off a tractor  hooked to a generator, burning about $350 worth of diesel fuel a day.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has launched an inquiry asking utility companies to provide an accounting of how they prepared for the storm and responded to it.

Ted Kury, Director of Energy Studies at the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida says companies walk a fine line when preparing for storms.

If they bring in too few crews for a storm, they risk frustrating residents in the case of power outages that take a long time to resolve.

But if companies over-prepare, they risk upsetting customers if they have to raise rates because of the costs they incurred.

Kury says that there needs to be more communication between the power companies and the states before and during disasters to make sure that utility companies respond to disasters appropriately.

Guest:

  • Ted Kury, Director of Energy Studies, Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida

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  • Steve Givens

    Robin, I grew up in the northeast, but settled on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1990, thus I fully experienced Hurricane Katrina.  We were without power for over two weeks, in “downtown” Biloxi.  Many families were without power for over a month.  We had power crews from all over the nation who spent up to 20 hours a day breaking their backs to get us back online.  We didn’t bother asking them “When will my electric come on, boo hoo, I’m missing my TV shows.  Instead, we made sure the electric crews had water, shade, food, but most of all, appreciation.  After that, we got out our rakes, shovels, trash bags etc… and got to work doing anything you could imagine.  To paraphrase Governor Barbour Mississippians know how to pull themselves up by their boot straps and do what they need to do instead of waiting for someone else to come and do it as some did(New Orleanians who seem to get so much of the recognition – my personal opinion).  Katrina was what I call the “Great Equalizer”, I didn’t matter if you were rich or poor because you couldn’t get at your money, besides, there was nothing to buy.  Never in my life had I ever thought I would be eating off the back of a Salvation Army van.  Robin, try and get the word out to the Northeast to kwitcherbitchin, go out and do some work, and while they are at it, maybe they could get to know their neighbors.  Love your show.

    Steve Givens, Success Mississippi

  • Dwelch4

    Amen, Steve!!!  Having gone through Katrina 3 hours north of the coast in Madison, MS and it being the WORST thing I have ever been through…..I totally agree with you!  

  • Dwelch4

    Amen, Steve!!!  Having gone through Katrina 3 hours north of the coast in Madison, MS and it being the WORST thing I have ever been through…..I totally agree with you!  

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