Utility repair crews turned back

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Now, they have a chance to rewire. That's a start.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Under the ground in NYC is an absolute cluster fuck of layers upon layers upon layers of utilities that date back more than 100 years, and much of it is not in good condition. For example, the water mains that feed the entire city are controlled by enormous valves that are more than 100 years old, long overdue for replacement, yet cannot be shut off because they're afraid they would crumble and fail catastrophically. Which, eventually, they will, even if they don't touch them.
I think there are plenty of documentaries out there that detail our crumbling infrastructure fairly well. Maybe we should give up being the world's thug and start a new WPA with the money.
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wrote:

At the moment they are rather far into finishing another main water supply tunnel into NYC. With incredible foresight <grin> they are hoping that will be completed before one or another of the 2 old tunnels, or their valves, fail(s).
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Han
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I've heard that the "turned back" was not correct. OTOH, I smell a back pedalling cover up by the unions.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
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And this liberal is proposing that the NJ BPU and the local and state authorities should "encourage" the utilities to invest in better, more "hardened" transmission lines and substations, and to maintain properly the utility pole infrastructure. Perhaps that should cost money, perhaps even big money, but that would be an investment, and the rate payers would have to pay. Poor me.
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Han
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On 11/5/2012 8:40 PM, Han wrote:

We can't forget the evil rich stockholders like teacher's pension funds. ^_^
TDD
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No, we can't forget the pension funds that (in NJ) haven't been funded for years. The gvnmt has just squirreled it away and spent it, the former Dem gvnmt as well as the current Christie gvnmt. But that wasn't my point. My point is not that the stock holders should be stiffed (although, weren't they remiss in making sure their investment was safe, from storms as well as other hazards?). My point is that in order to have aproductive investment long term, one should harden the capital invested, i.e. make sure that the utility poles are not rotted and leaning, aren't in places where trucks and buses can knock them over, have wiring that isn't about to part, and have substations (quite an investment, each one) that aren't prone to flooding. I'm fairly sure that would cost many millions to achieve, but in the long run (if done right) would be cheaper than repairing things on the scale we are doing now. Irene, freak snowstorm, Sandy, the next nor'easter, etc.
And yes, the rate payers would have to pay off the bonds.
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Han
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Han wrote:

1. How much will it cost to get the electrical power supply system in NY and NJ back to where it was before the storm? Is $10 billion reasonable?
2. How much will it cost to "harden" the electrical power supply system and how long will it take? Just guessing, $30 billion, five years of disruption while they tear up the streets.
Now which is the more prudent financial tack: $10 billion every 100 years or $30 billion one time?
To tell the truth, it might be cheaper for the power companies to supply each householder with a portable generator rather than harden the system!
Before you gasp, some thought has been given to "mini-grids," that is, each neighborhood wired to its own separate power distribution system that can be supplied from the big grid or a honkin' genset.
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On 11/6/2012 8:35 AM, HeyBub wrote:

I like those small nuclear reactors like what I saw proposed for Galena, Alaska but the expense of getting government approval has held it up. The proposed reactor, the Toshiba 4S is quite interesting and there are other micro reactors designed for large buildings to make them independent of the grid. ^_^
TDD
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<sarcasm> I got the distinct impression that with at least 2 100-year floods in 2 years, a freak October snow storm a few months later that did as much damage to the electric distribution system as Irene did a few months before, and now a Sandy, which did about 3 times as much damage as Irene, that either we will be safe for another 500 years, or that climate change is really here. My bet is /not/ on being safe for 500 years. That means to me that investing in proper electrification and distribution systems is a good investment. People have been warning for years for exactly the kind of storm surge that did us in now. They aren't crying wolf. They are Cassandra - very good predictors of very unpleasant phenomena. </sarcasm>

That is what I have done - buy a small, quiet generator to power the essentials. I meant to test it today, but didn't get to it.

We have a system like that, as I thought everyone did (or I misunderstand). Big honking generating stations, transmission lines to distribution stations, then substations, then high voltage lines off of which lower voltage distribution lines feed, and finally transformers to household quality powerlines off of which the individual homes are fed. The problem hereabouts is that the substations got flooded and had to be carefully cleaned and dried, and repaired and checked. Then they had to cut down and clean up the trees, erect new utility poles, string new wiring, install new transformers, and finally reconnect the homes. Check the wiring etc before throwing the switch to on. With crews from all over the country, they may finish most next weekend, at least 2 weeks after the storm. I don't know what is happening with this nor'easterthey named Athena, I think. Some extra outages have already been reported here. SO far, so good on my street ...
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Han
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On 11/5/2012 9:40 PM, Han wrote:

The trees are the problem.
Trees fall on the lines and break them.
If we really want a more reliable grid, we need to remove the trees growing near the lines.
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Indeed, there are only 2 sure ways, underground or no trees. Neither will happen, because the trees shade the homes, and underground is too expensive. Judicious trimming is sometimes done, and everyone complains about the damage to the trees that look real weird afterwards (the tree trimmers aren't familiar with esthetics).
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Han
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On 11/6/2012 5:44 AM, Han wrote:

Send the tree trimmers to school and train them in art of Bonsai. ^_^
TDD
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LOL
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wrote:

And the ocean-- a lot of the lines were pushed down by the ocean. we should move/remove that, too.
Jim
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It was just stupid to have so much infrastructure in places where this storm could reach it. Doesn't mean the sea has to moved. Only means you have to make sure tunnels, electrical substations and emergency generators can't possible get flooded like the ones in the subbasement of the Manhattan VA that were supposed to protect the freezers with YEARS of precious samples I collected. I am f'ing mad about that, though I am retired and it isn't my problem anymore.
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Perhaps they could just as easily point the finger at you and your organization and say that it was you who didn't prepare adequately by not putting important samples in sub-basements that can get flooded to begin with. Or if you did, having sufficient pumps and back-up generators to make sure they have a high probability of survival.
As to making huge infrastructures like electric distribution able to withstand 75 year events, I bet once the cost hits your utility bill you'd have a very different opinion. I'm not saying some modest improvements can't or shouldn't be made. Just that if you want your power back on in less than a week from a storm that statistically happens every 50 years or so, then it's going to cost a whole lot of money.
I don't know about you, but I survived here in NJ just a few miles from the ocean just fine with a generator for a week. And I think JCPL did a very good job restoring power. I had crews from Alabama working here. In one spot there were about 10 trucks repairing a section of a few poles that were down. In that regard, one of the most impressive photos I saw was of utility trucks being loaded on C-17's in California. They had at least 8 cargo planes ferrying them over here.
My house came out relatively well. Lost one big section of shingles, about 15 x 4 ft and had some minor water damage as a result. Two 35 year old trees came down, one blocked the garage. The other would have crushed my den, but I got lucky and it went the other way. Been busy cutting up firewood.
The shore here in NJ is devastated. By shore, I mean areas that are mostly a few blocks from the water. IT was the tidal surge that did most of the really bad damage, talking out whole houses. I told folks that were new here at the shore that the ocean has met the bay in hurricanes long past, but few can comprehend that. It's happened before, creating new inlets, closing others. This time it created an inlet right at the Mantoloking bridge. That bridge goes across Barnegat Bay, connecting the barrier island to land at that point. Right where the bridge is, the ocean swept across to the bay, creating a new inlet and submerging that end of the bridge. Last cound I saw there were 25 houses gone in Mantoloking and 25 so bad they have to be torn down. That's in a town of just 525 or so very expensive homes.
Anyone interested in some good shots of the damage can google "Mantoloking sandy images"
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I am not sure why I should have put my samples in the basement to get flooded. Probably I am misreading things. I was just informed that other medical institutions near the VA were also severely damaged because they had similarly put their emergency generators in areas that got flooded. I simply don't understand that, in view of the flooding experiences from some time ago. Perhaps because of my Dutch heritage and respect for what water can do, I would have thought that a flood of magnitude A would make you take precautions to withstand a flood of at least magnitude A plus 5 feet, if not more.

75 year or even 100 year events do not wait that amount of time to recur, as you know from Floyd and other storms like Irene, the Halloween snowstorm, and now Sandy. Perhaps we should be a little more pro-active (I really hate that phrase, but it fits here).

I bought a generator ... And the help we are getting is remarkable indeed, and we are grateful for it.

We had no personal damage at all. Others weren't so lucky, but I don't know of any real personal injuries other than reported in the news.

I have seen first hand the rather mild devastation around here - mostly trees and wires down, impressive enough for me. I have seen the pictures of the shore, reminding me of the flood of '53 in Holland. Google "watersnood 1953" and click images.
Glad you got off rather well in comparison!
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Han
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in

OK up to here!

Another incredible misunderstanding of statistics. Incredible because you're normally a critical thinker and don't just jump on the bandwagon. Sandy is NOT a 75 year event meaning that it only happens every 75 or even 50 years (you change in mid-thought): we might have another Sandy next year (or week) or it might be 200 or more (like infinity) years in the future. Historically Sandy and similar storms haven't happened sufficiently frequently to be able to accumulate any level of quasi-reliable data points.
Even things that have large numbers of data points (like numbers in lottery wins) are subject to random incidence. IIRC this is called the "roulette" or "Monte Carlo" principle. But amazingly people make statements like "The number ten hasn't come up in 1000 spins of the wheel so it must be due. I'll bet the farm on ten." Goodbye farm.
You also only seem to count the electric rates as a balancing item. How about the loss of life? The enormous costs to the homeowners affected? The spread of those costs via insurance to everyone else. The costs to businesses of days of missed work. The foregone revenue from tourists. The list is endless.
If anything Sandy shows just how stupid the policy of deferred upgrading is. I don't know lots about "big" electricity but there's a sub-station about 3 miles away -- huge, a full city lot, all out in the open, built on a slab, about 30-years old -- which must be rained on every time it rains. It doesn't blow up like the 14th St one. I suspect that the construction of transformers has undergone considerable changes in the intervening time especially in waterproofing but the short-term mentality (justified no doubt by similar erroneous application of statistics) meant that the 14th St sub-station has never been upgraded.
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On Thu, 08 Nov 2012 00:08:42 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.gov wrote:

I read somewhere that a Sandy hadn't happened in NY recorded history. About 300 years. It's a shame about those samples, and no easy answer to protecting frozen stuff requiring refrigeration. Could get very costly. I'd want my stuff buried in Antarctic ice, and deny global warming. Companies use services to store data tapes in dry caves in western arid areas. At least that was my understanding when I was in IT. Can't remember the location. But shit happens anyway. Military records lost in St. Louis fire. http://www.nvlsp.org/Information/ArticleLibrary/ServiceRecords/MILREC-1973FIRE-LOSTRECORDS.htm
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On Thu, 08 Nov 2012 08:06:49 -0600, Vic Smith

Like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault- http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/lmd/campain/svalbard-global-seed-vault.html?idF2220
Jim
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