Severe Weather and Power Outages

Due to the weather, there have been long-lasting power outages throughout the area I live. There is a high probability that we will experience power outages.
Should I be mid-attempt on helping someone in a thread and the power go out - uhh… sorry.

I hope your family makes it through fine, should you have outages.

Don’t you have a diesel generator in the shop for such an eventuality?
I bet you could build one, plus a UPS, in 5mins from surplus bits and pieces :wink:

I have a UPS, but no generator. Texas.
Have a real kickin’ Air Compressor… but that will not help.

And yes, you are right I could build a generator. But I lack all the needed parts to bang one out Right Now. Something I think I must remedy… But even so, that would not power the whole house. I could probably cobble together a small DC generator using a small engine. It would keep phones working for emergencies, at least. If I make one, I’ll post some pictures of the lil monster.
Money’s been tight since Covid slammed us all to the winds… But now that you have me thinking…
We all had it here, my son and me included. Fortunately our own symptoms were mild but not all of us were so lucky. When I say “barely Survived” I do mean BARELY for one of us. Now, I spare no ego in taking it seriously.

We (on the other side of the pond) have seen pictures of your snow on our TV News. Climate change and COVID are real challenges. Here, except for siberian cold snap last week, we have had prolonged spells of rain since last Autumn (Fall), so flooding is a risk on top of COVID.
I guess Texas is just not set up for once in a century Artic weather. Make sure you all keep warm.

When I was a kid… I lived where it snowed every winter.
I used to go skiing and snowboarding. That seems so long ago, now.
Enlisting in the Army stationed me at Ft. Hood TX and once I was here, I never bothered to leave. I have learned, I have forgotten how to be used to the snow. I remember how as a kid I’d spend hours out in it. Now, ten minutes and I am running inside to thaw out, then back out again… Wearing the mask in this cold helps a lot, though.
Where I live, Heat in the summer is usually the Big Weather. Storms, hail, tornadoes, snow- usually not in This area.
A generator has been on my Want List for years. But… Life, priorities… Welder was more pressing, air compressor was more pressing, hoist, so on and so on.
In this, outside is colder than the fridge. If the power is out too long- I would just set the food outside. (Which I have done with my Dr. pepper stash LOL).

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I hear you, @Aravisian. I’m in Fort Worth and got incredibly lucky with no power outage, but I work with a lot of people that lost both power and water. It certainly opened my eyes to how I could be better prepared. A generator just moved up on my list of things to get. :slight_smile:

Same here. No outages, but we are on a “water must be boiled before use” trend at the moment… At least the water pressure is up to nearly normal.

Apparently… since our state does competitive marketing on power Companies… it led to an interesting side effect. The power companies would only buy fuel at its cheapest rates. Before the weather hit, in spite of warning, many of them did not stock up on fuel. The cause of many outages was that the power stations ran out of gas.

I do not know the exact details of the outages in Texas but here is how the power industry works in general.
In the US, the FERC and individual state regulators (Public Utility Commissions) exert heavy control over utilities. Both feds & state regulators drive toward “lean” running - cheapest possible power, which pushes any incremental spending, including upgrades, out of the picture. Cost recovery: 1. FERC controls for transmission line (higher voltage lines) building, upgrading, etc. 2. State controls for generation (and fuel) and distribution lines (lower voltage lines) purchases.
For example, the bulk of a residential power bill is due to state regulators forcing wind and solar generation.
The fed & state regulators also control gas companies. Gas companies are forced to prioritize residential customers over electric generation plants (not so much regulators’ fault as basic physics). They issue rules known as Flow Orders (FO). In essence, if electric companies try to stock up on gas more/less (beyond a certain error threshold) than their forecasts, they get hit by FO penalties by the gas company that are mandated by state regulators. During all of this, the feds, controlling both electric and gas flow reliability, have their own policies which may/may not conflict with state regulatory policy.
In the end, the electric utilities (and generators) and some time gas companies get the blame. The regulators have made it complicated enough that the public rarely can cut through the details to correctly blame the regulators for the whole mess.

PS - the competitive power purchasing is based off “perfect competition “ from economic textbooks. A model that doesn’t exist in reality. Regulators are constantly trying to chase a myth by driving down costs that results in sacrificing upgrades and rainy-day spending.

Do I detect a sort of a Catch 22 scenario here: People boil water> peak power demand> power outage > water outage.
Are you allowed to burn fossil fuels i.e. wood to boil your own water. Oh no, another Catch 22 scenario. Wood fires> CO2 > Climate change> Unpredictable weather > power/water outages.

Yes, I would agree there is a bit of a catch-22, but it makes no difference.
Denialism of the Solid and Sound Science that Climate Change is Very Real, in spite of us all directly observing the effects today, remains strong all around the world.
Humans generally are driven by self interest. For many, by the time Climate Change begins to show the worst, they know they will be long gone. So they do not care about future generations and want to live large now while they can.
We all rely on science and we accept it when we want to. In less than forty years, we want from flying in deathtraps with a Leather Helmet to grandmothers snoozing peacefully in a luxurious setting in passenger flight. We sent astronauts to the Moon. We enjoy the internet and computing and advancements in medical care.
But when science threatens a deeply held belief, money or even if a person wants to appear smarter than the average bear, there are some people that will get dismissive, deny and spin, distort, twist and even outright lie.
There are also many people for whom their own opinion is good enough and when it comes to the science, if they do not like what they hear, they will simply reject it and refuse to listen.

A catch-22 is made worse by a Positive Feedback Loop.

For example, as the climate warms and ice melts, more trapped carbon is released, causing more warming which causes more melting which causes more releasing…

Climate change is nothing new. But Anthropogenic Climate Change is. Not only is it new, it is remarkably Fast.

The trouble is not in an isolated pocket boiling some water, briefly. But of a global average where power stations use economic but unsustainable fuels for energy generation:
Of course, in this, you can see a Strong Motive for rejection and denial.
These are precise scientific measurements of Real Matter.

The effects of the denialism are pronounced. Not only does it perpetuate the problem, it sows confusion and doubt among the populace that actually has direct influence on the direction this will go. By ensuring doubt among the people, those that benefit financially in the short term of Climate Change denial can stave off accountability, at least during their own lifetimes.

That denialism follows on the heels of such strong evidence…

No, the math is Not Lying. No, the climate scientists are not lying. No, it is not a Hoax nor is there a real motive for there to be.
Thousands of studies, known since the 1940’s, as our scientists have been warning us for decades and that ^ we are directly observing even now. YET, there are those who will cherrypick the numbers and do their utmost to deny the math, or twist it to a slightly more favorable view. To what cost? And what gain?
For a person that is not knowledgeable on climate science as it is not their field, they need only consider:
What if climate scientists are wrong but we take the steps to reduce carbon emissions as described? Then we will still have done well in lowering pollution that causes disease and is leading our current global extinction rate.
If we accept the Climate Change Deniers claims and it turns out that the scientists were right, and do nothing to halt the growing pollution and massive dumping of CO2 - We all suffer. All of us.
It’s really a no-brainer.

Currently, were I live, most of the ice is already melting away and infrastructure is rebounding. The boil-order was lifted this morning, though I have bottled many jugs in advance, I can stand to ignore the tap for another couple of weeks.

I am bad. I should not be suggesting anyone buys or makes a motor generator set as they they burn fossil fuel. So also apply to my “Catch 22” scenario above.

India is/was prone to regular power outages and people took it into their own hands to get generator sets to mitigate that on their businesses and lives. The result was ugly, unsustainable and eventualy resulted in a ban on their use.

Southern states of USA, in terms of lattitude, must get a good amount of annual sunshine hours. So maybe Photovoltaic Solar Panels and Batteries would be a better and greener solution.

PS @Aravisian I am glad to hear things are getting back to normal. Whatever “normal” means these days.

My vehicle is a diesel, but not electric. If it was electric, it may not help much. The electricity has to come from somewhere… and Power Stations carry a large burden on Climate Change and CO2 production. So does Concrete production, actually.
I recycle, heavily.

But let’s be brutally honest… We ALL, every one of us, suffer the Same Self Problem. I sit here enjoying technology, typing on this computer and this interwebs.
If we Truly cared about climate change, we would be getting horses and buggies.
We all know that this is true. We all know what it is that Really Motivates us.

I honestly fear that is what is coming, actually. I suspect steam, powered by Nuclear- will become the future, like it or not. And I, for one, support it.
But we love our modern conveniences Too Much. Tossing a steel Beans can into the recycle bin is a fine thing and all, yet I still go to the store where shelves are covered in Thousands of wasteful cans and packaging and my little efforts mean little when I know that 92% of those cans will end up in the landfill.

What we have truly done is painted ourselves into a corner. While this is not political, it is made out to be. And just like in politics, our developed human nature plays a very large role in how we confront issues.
Capitlaism, is evil. It’s what gave us poisoned food, exploitation of the working class, jobs being moved overseas and poverty- and let’s not forget the Radium Girls.
Socialism is evil. It gave us oppression, tyranny, corruption and greed as elites exploit the working class… Oh wait. There’s that human nature, again.
Of course, a person who has strong beliefs on one side will blame the other side. It does not matter which side you consider yourself aligned to, you end up with the same thing.
And whereever you go, most places, politics is banned from discussion. Even at the dinner table in many homes. Especially on forums on the web. Moderators dislike having to break up arguments and heated debates and it is … Easier… To ban it. Yet, now in the USA, it seems a nation heavily divided by groups that can no longer communicate, seek each other out for validation and confirmation and no one understands each other anymore, no one communicates and tests ideas for merit anymore… It is Our Fault. We wanted Easy and we created this division. We wanted peace for the moment and things have been less than peaceful now.
Climate Change is like that.
It is our fault, but we have done this to ourselves and cannot just Jump Back Out of the corner we painted ourselves into.
For some, they want peace without thinking long term. For others, they just want the Easy Approach and it really is a Lot Easier to think that everything is fine and there is no problem.
Conserving Energy is easier than burning it. We have developed and evolved to do so. For a million years of human history, we learned to take the easy appraoch as often as possible back when life lacked modern convenience and was Much Much Harder. We do not fit into the world we have created. We created it to be easy and now, easy is what people want, more than those of us willing to take the Hard Road.

We cannot fix what we have done to ourselves or the climate Quickly nor Easily. Not by tossing a can into the recycling once a week.
Not by surrounding ourselves only by people who agree with our views.
Not by hating or labelling those that disagree as an enemy.
Not by banning cars and power stations.
It is a dangerous balance, but we need to Slowly open the lines of communication. Improve education. Uplift others and mitigate what we can. We cannot force or order people to do what is right, because they will resist- It is our nature. We like our easy and convenient lifestyle so much better than the olden days.
What I learned the hardest in the US Army was that leadership is not about barking orders or telling people what to do. It is about inspiring others to want to follow your lead.

You are right, Zab, solar and batteries can be “greener” but they are not “green” either. And solar is great if you have the time, but a solar powered generator won’t do you much good at three am. There’s the Patriot Power Generator- which is NOT a generator but a portable battery; it does not perform as claimed, weighs a ton and charges by being plugged into the wall (With the 12 hour option of charging it outside if it is a bright sunny day using the included solar panels.) It costs more than a Small Used Car coming in at USD $2,500.00
How many people really are gonna jump on that opportunity?

When you look at How We Are… How if one political party supports an idea- then that idea becomes anethma to the opposing party, regardless of the Merit of the Idea, if gives me Little Hope for our future. The new normal? We have not changed in many thousands of years. Only our tech, did.
And what did our tech do?
It increased the human lifespan by decades. Helped treat and even cure hundreds of horrible diseases. It allowed chances to be given to those who would have never survived in the past that contributed in amazing ways to society- like Stephen Hawking. Our technology has shrunk our world and played a huge role in combatting xenophobia, racism and sexism. We now have the ability to touch knowledge with our fingertips; unlike the great Library of Alexandra, the internet has openly shared its bounty for all to read.
And our dark side knows no bounds- as some exploit that as a means to spread propaganda and misinformation, to inspire others to want to follow their lead… With deception, geared toward greed and self-driven gain. “Good,” “right” and "evil became subjective terms. In true fashion of Emergence, complexity increased. How do we know who to believe, anymore?
Ok, well… I know how. But who listens to me, anyway.

I believe that normal is going to get worse for a while.
People in the USA are startled. A bit… uncertain. But we are not Afraid. We should be, but are too proud to be. Until we are… Until we are Truly Afraid, I do not think anything is going to change.