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From: (Ernst G. Knolle)
Subject: California Dream & Power Outages
Date: 13 Aug 1996 15:27:34 -0700

Well, I saw it long-time coming.

As a senior engineer for a state agency in the 60s, I attended many 
hearings on permit applications by power companies to build direly 
needed new power plants. Up until then, these utilities had enough 
capacity to meet peak demand plus a healthy safety margin.

At these hearings, about everything that could crawl came out from under 
rocks and protested. To name a few, Sierra Club, Earth First, Save the 
Marsh Mouse, Save the Forests, Save the Children, Save the Snail Darter, 
Save...whatever was in season. The utilities gave up in disgust, 
especially since the state government, controlled by the Democrats and 
their chief flake Governor Jerry Brown, sided with the creeps. 

As California utilities found themselves unable to meet their demand, 
neighboring states build excess capacity to sell their surplus to 
California. This had the disadvantage of very high transmission losses. 
If you live in a metropolitan area, look around and you will see lots of 
power plants. Power generation and delivery to customers is most 
efficient when both are close together. The fact is, it is simply more 
economical to transport, for instance, coal a 1000 miles by rail from 
Wyoming to San Francisco than to convert the coal into electricity in 
Wyoming and send it to San Francisco by wire. Rail or pipeline is cheaper 
than wire. Not only did these low-life protesters succeed in preventing 
more local power production, but they caused a great increase in energy 
waste. Power companies are reluctant to furnish data, but as professional 
licensed engineer in the State of California (#12372), I estimate that 
these line losses amount to around 50%. It is totally disgusting.  

Anyway, our California dream is in jeopardy. Power outages are going to 
be the norm of the near future. And why, because we have let the 
dredges of society goad us into a system that wasts 50% of our energy. 
There is a lead time period of about ten years from the planning stage 
to putting a power plant into service. 

Let's hope the Republicans can get into office and squash these creepy 
crawlers that endanger the quality of California life. To get the process 
of power plant building into high gear, I suggest that every time you 
hear on TV, during critical peak periods, 'urgent' appeals to turn 
appliances off, do the very opposite. Run around the house and office and 
turn everything on. That will get the blockhead politicians' attention.  


Subject: Re: Storm News
From: (John Higdon) 
Date: Dec 15 1995
Newsgroups: ba.broadcast

In article <4aol73$> Severdia) writes:

>    The truth of the matter is that PGE's service has been very
>adequate to preclude the needed investment ...up to this year. We
>don't worry about power outages of a few hours as commercial stations
>do BUT in January and NOW, it's stretching to days which become
>intolerable.  The whole matter is now being reconsidered because
>we anticipate less not better service from PG&E in the future.

You better believe it. In my 20+ years of maintaining a site on Loma
Prieta, I have seen power reliablity go from fair to absolutely
unreliable. Yes, it is isolated. Yes, it is far from any metro area.
Yes, it has high winds on a routine basis. But there is sufficient
demand at the site (three commercial FMs, one noncom FM, a VHF TV, a
UHF TV, a UHF booster, dozens of paging, two-way, and microwave
licensees, not to mention PG&E's own communications facilities, plus
ENG for most of the SF TV stations) to warrant hardening the facilities
to some reasonable level.

But every year during the summer we get three to five "planned outages"
that are supposed to be when they are "maintaining the line" and every
winter the power fails at every drop of rain and every breath of wind.
Yet, I talk to engineers around the country who maintain equipment on
top of snow-covered, wind-swept peaks from Alaska to the Rockies who
tell me that they have not even considered a backup generator since the
power never fails anyway.

Now Pacific Bell seems to be joining in on the fun. Our once completely
reliable data circuit now fails with the regularity of the power. We
have no idea how log the generator actually ran since we got no
telemetry shortly after PG&E service failed. From the fuel usage, it
would appear that the outage lasted around sixty hours. Pac*Bell has
yet to restore the data circuit. The last time we had telco trouble at
the site, it took Pac*Bell forty days to fix it.

BTW, power at the KOME transmitter site has been out for 72 hours and
counting. I suggested to the DJ this evening that he give PG&E a few
plugs on the air--KOME-style! This is the reliability we get in
exchange for the second-highest rates in the nation. I would be willing
to bet that many paying far less get power that is much more
reliable--in much more hostile environments.

So buy that generator; you will need it. The utilities in this state
are unbelievably poor.

 John Higdon  |    P.O. Box 7648   |   +1 408 264 4115     |       FAX: | San Jose, CA 95150 |   +1 500 FOR-A-MOO    | +1 408 264 4407
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