Friday, December 26, 2008
HECO in the dark
by Larry Geller
As I write this, the Hilton fireworks have just completed. Otherwise, it's pretty dark. HECO's system is down again, no doubt due to some lightning strikes somewhere.
The only light in here is from my Tablet PC screen, the only sounds are incessant sirens of emergency vehicles and the noise from KSSK. Oh, and illegal aerial fireworks all over the place.
We had just started to eat dinner. No problem, we have emergency camping lanterns. We just pretended we were back in the jungles of Tiger Tops in Nepal enjoying our evening meal. After dinner I could even do the dishes.
This reminds me that I promised to write something about the need to unplug HECO from the power grid business and have the grid operated independently. These folks have not figured how to reliably distribute even their own power. Anything that impacts the system at one point knocks it all down. Even if we had wind/wave/geothermal power, we would still be in the dark.
I'll bet HECO has never seen a Variable Frequency Transformer or any other modern method of connecting grids together. I'm not an expert on this, but clearly, neither are they.
It's an hour and 10 minutes into the outage. I'm not sure that KSSK has reserved ("secret") numbers available to receive official calls. Maybe they do, but they keep talking about "clearing the studio lines." That was supposed to have been taken care of some time ago.
KSSK just advised that we check on how our elderly neighbors are doing. This reminds me that our
diligent civil defense people have not distributed any instructions that would assist our elderly with medical or mobility challenges in the event of an emergency. Did you get anything? Neither did I.
For people depending on home oxygen systems, they are probably scared.
We can do better. I'll try to put something together on power grids, but in the meantime, when you read this, think of how badly we need something better than this, even without the added complexity of exchanging power with wind farms and homes that generate power to sell back to the grid.
Ok, now to find the phone line and send this via dialup. Let's see if I can pull this off.