Ouch! AP claims grid spending is making power LESS reliable

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

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Quick Take: An Associated Press analysis of nationwide utility spending and reliability found that electric customers are spending 43% more than they did a decade ago. During that same period, their annual minutes without power has climbed from 97 to 112.

 

It sounds like the worst of two worlds. Pay more. Get less reliability. Author Jonathan Fahey says the data suggests that "the extra money from electric customers isn't being spent wisely – or that utilities aren't investing nearly enough to upgrade fragile equipment."

 

I'd argue the latter. The electric power industry was suffering from three to four decades of neglect and deferred upgrades. The past 10 years, though helpful, have not been enough to get us where we need to be.

 

Even so, it doesn't look pretty. Between 2005 and 2009, there were 349 power outages in the U.S. that affected at least 50,000 people. That’s more than twice the 149 outages between 2000 and 2004, according to Massoud Amin of the University of Minnesota.