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Public Service may cut electric service to some customers

-- - (, May 09, 2000


Bloomberg Energy

Tue, 09 May 2000, 12:13pm EDT

05/09 11:03 Public Service May Cut Electricity Service to Some Customers

By Jonathan Berr

Newark, New Jersey, May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., owner of New Jersey's biggest utility, said it may have to cut electricity today to some of its 1.9 million power customers amid a spring heat wave in the U.S. Northeast.

The company said it will know later this afternoon, when power demand is expected to peak, whether it will have ``rolling blackouts'' in which electricity is cut briefly in many places.

Temperatures are forecast to top 90 degrees Fahrenheit today in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia, according to Weather Services Corp. That's about 20 degrees above normal for this time of year.

Public Service, based in Newark, New Jersey, and other Mid- Atlantic utilities were asked by the operator of the region's power grid to request that customers use less power.

GPU Inc., based in Morristown, New Jersey, told some industrial customers that it will reduce their voltage by 5 percent today. The company, which has 2 million customers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said it had no immediate plans for other reductions or rolling blackouts.

Consumers are urged to set thermostats on their air conditioners higher, open refrigerators and freezers as little as possible, and postpone using large appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers until after 8 p.m.

Power companies often take generators out of service in spring for maintenance to prepare for summer. Electricity prices for utilities and other large users in the Mid-Atlantic region have jumped to $115 a megawatt hour, more than triple last year's levels, because of increased use of air conditioners.


-- (Got@a.generator?), May 09, 2000.

The problem with power

Accra Mail (Accra) May 8, 2000

Acrra - There are two unfortunate realities of the electronic age; the utility simply cannot provide the clean, consistent power demanded by sensitive electronics, and the customer is ultimately responsible for the health and safe operation of his equipment.

A study by IBM has shown that a typical computer is subject to more than 120 power problems per month. The effects of power problems range from the subtle keyboard lockups, hardware degradation to the dramatic - complete data loss or burnt motherboards. According to a survey by the Yankee Group, almost half of the corporations researched put their downtime costs upwards of US$1,000 per hour, with nine percent estimating costs up to or more than US$50,000 per hour. Even though there are no exact figures on Ghanaian corporations yet, it is no doubt they are rocketing.

Clearly, businesses are becoming more and more reliant, on a utility power supply that is pushed beyond its capacity. Despite advances in the capabilities of modern personal computers, a momentary power outage is still all it takes to lose your data. More dangerous is the loss of previously written files, or even an entire hard disk, which can occur should a power problem strike, while your computer is saving a file. Network file servers constantly writing to disk are particularly susceptible. Unfortunately the situation won't be getting better anytime soon. It takes approximately a decade to get a new power plant on-line, and concerns about nuclear power and fossil fuels have stifled the construction of new generating facilities, In the United States, for instance spending on utilities has dropped from 2.3% of the Gross National Product in the 1960s to less than 1% today. Sadly, utilities in Ghana are woefully inadequate hence the present focus of the government in rural utility development where technological advancement is irrelevant.

In certain areas of Europe the capacity issue is even more acute, as nuclear power plants which had been supplying power are closed because of safety and modernization concerns.

It has been said that there are two types of computer users: those who have lost data because of a power problem, and those who are going to. Over the past few years, a new class has been created. Those who have recognised the need for protection and taken steps to ensure that they are prepared for the inevitable.


Surges, spikes, blackouts and brownouts.... What really happens to your computer when it experiences an 'out of bounds' power anomaly?' We'll use a nearby lightning strike as an example, although it is just one of countless problems that can strike your system. Lightning strikes a nearby transformer. If the surge is powerful enough, it travels instantaneously through wiring, network, serial and phone lines and more, with the electrical equivalent force of tidal wave. The surge travels into your computer via the outlet or network data lines. The first casualty is usually a modem or motherboard. Chips go next, and data is lost.

The utility responds to overvoltages by disconnecting the grid. This creates brownouts and blackouts. If the voltage drop is low enough, or blackouts, the hard disk may crash, destroying the data stored on the disk. In all cases work-in-process stored in cache is instantly lost. In the worst case, password protection on the hard drive can be jumbled, or the file allocation table may be upset, rendering the hard disk useless.


Power failure/Surge: 45.3%

Storm Damage: 9.4%

Fire or explosion: 8.2%

Hardware/software error: 8.2%

Flood and water damage: 6.7%

Earthquake: 5.5%

Network outage: 4.5%

Human error/sabotage: 3.2%

HVAC failure: 2.3%

Others: 6.7%

Source: Contingency Planning. html

-- - (, May 09, 2000.

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