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Keeping The Electricity On

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I woke up to no electrical power this morning. It was a calm night, mostly free of clouds, no rain, and the power was out in my neighborhood. You could see the darkened area. Sometimes there seems to be a reason for an outage, like high winds, sometimes not, like this morning.

I checked PNM via my smartphone, now also the only operating clock in the house. Outage reported at 3:57 am, projected to be repaired by 6:15 am, 720 customers.

Next question was how to go about starting the morning. The refrigerator and freezer are highly insulated, so they will keep things cold, but don’t open them a lot to make breakfast. I’ve got a new gas stovetop. Does it work? Yes, it does, and I can light the gas with strike-anywhere matches that I keep for an occasion like this. On the safety side, it seems a poor idea to allow the gas to flow when the igniters aren’t working, but it’s nice to be able to make a cup of tea.

Shower? I’m not sure how or if the hot water heater makes use of electricity. (This is not an invitation for you to speculate on or explain this.) A small electrically-driven pump circulates the hot water around the house so that hot water is always at the faucets. If I want hot water, I will have to pour a lot down the drain.

The toilets and other wastewater flow to a lift pump for reasons that have to do with the incremental development of Santa Fe and its sewer system. That pump runs on electricity too. The lift pump has a fair-sized reservoir, but it’s prudent not to flush the toilets excessively until the power is back on, and certainly not take a shower.

I haven’t connected the operations of my house to the internet, but I know some neighbors have added various gimmicks that do things like lock the doors with electricity.

I’m healthy, but CPAP machines run on electricity, as do other health aids.

I’ve been thinking about writing some more, but that would require the computer. Go somewhere? The electrically operated garage door is very heavy, but I could probably get it open if I really really wanted to.

The electricity was on by a little after 6:15.

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We need renewable or nuclear electricity to cut down our carbom dioxide emissions. As we electrify our homes and work, we become more dependent on electricity for life essentials like food and health support. That would mean that the electricity supply to our homes must be utterly reliable. That means more regulation of the electrical generating and supply industry, and probably some technological improvements, although the first will outshadow the rest.

Someone on Bluesky suggested that we all will need a backup battery in our homes. That’s a BIG battery, expensive, and something more to maintain. It’s the electricity suppliers who should be required to have the backups. That’s easier and probably less expensive.

We’re beginning to move to a lower-carbon economy. But we have many more political fights before we’re there.

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner

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