November 6, 2012
The New York Times reports today that residents and businesses of that city that use natural gas for heating, cooking or electrical power generation are up and running, while many who rely on electrical power are still in the dark.
This is for a simple reason. Gas pipelines are underground and sealed. Storms don’t affect them the way they do overhead electrical lines and transmission towers.
People have been talking about putting America’s electrical grid underground for years now. The prospects brightened after a big East Coast “derecho” storm this summer. But the cost always scares away politicians and the utility companies have so much invested in their trucks and linemen that they would fight any serious proposal tooth and nail. Pity. It would be a great job machine.
Another reason to like natural gas for running electrical generators is that they won’t suffer from the fuel quality and contamination problems that diesel generators inevitably experience after big storms like Sandy.