Michael STAVY was quoted on grid stability in the April 24, 2013 New York Times


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Michael STAVY was quoted on grid stability in the April 24, 2013 New York Times

  1. 1. Search All NYTimes.comGlobal DealBook Markets Economy Energy Media Personal Tech Small Business Your MoneyPower Grids Iffy, Populous Areas Go for GeneratorsBy KEN BELSONPublished: April 24, 2013AFTER Tropical Storm Irene pummeled the Northeast in 2011, Keithand Barbara Wolff realized it was time to act. Though they werespared during Irene, several other storms had cut the power to theirhome in Brookfield, Conn., forcing them to throw out food, wearsweaters to keep warm and find coffee shops to recharge theircellphones and laptops.So the Wolffs did what many of theirneighbors had done: They bought aportable, gasoline-powered generatorthat produced enough electricity torun many of their essential appliances,including their refrigerator, water well, hot water tank, heater andhome offices.Matt Roth for The New York TimesAGAINST ALL STORMS Charles LaDuca of Bethesda, Md., spent about $12,000 to buy and install a 14-kilowatt generator,below.RelatedGo to Energy Special Section »Enlarge This ImageLog in to see what your friends are sharingon nytimes.com. Privacy Policy | What’sThis?What’s Popular NowLog In With FacebookBloomberg PlanAims to RequireFood CompostingTurkish LeaderSaid He Had a‘Duty’ to ClearIstanbul ParkMOST E-MAILED RECOMMENDED FOR YOUarticles in thepast month26 Michael StavyAll Recommendations1. DOT EARTHTalking Climate Online With David Robertsof Grist2. What Happens to Women Who Are DeniedAbortions?3. YOURE THE BOSSThis Week in Small Business: Analytics andHashtags4. Coal Industry PinsHopes on Exports asU.S.Market Shrinks5. I’ll Have What She’s HavingHOME PAGE TODAYS PAPER VIDEO MOST POPULARBusiness DayEnergy & EnvironmentWORLD U.S. N.Y. / REGION BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE HEALTH SPORTS OPINION ARTS STYLE TRAVEL JOBS REAL ESTATE AUTOSFACEBOOKTWITTERGOOGLE+SAVEE-MAILSHAREPRINTREPRINTSU.S. Edition HelpmstavyPage 1 of 5Generators Become Must-Have Appliances in Storm-Battered Areas - NYTimes.com6/17/2013http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/generators-become-must-have-appliances...
  2. 2. The Wolffs paid about $1,000 for a 7,500-watt generatormade by Generac. A week after paying an electrician $900to hook up the unit to their electrical system, they put theirnew purchase to work when a snowstorm knocked out theirpower for nine days.“It was a pretty hefty investment, but it was well worth itbecause when it’s cold out, you want to at least be able totake a shower,” Mr. Wolff said. “There are two things youcan do: Be completely aggravated and non-functional or doa workaround so your quality of life is better.”Generators have been a backup for homeowners in ruralAmerica and twister- and hurricane-prone corners of thecountry for decades.But in recent years, they have also become popular with families in metropolitan areasacross the northern half of the country that have been hard hit by recent so-calledsuperstorms.With utility companies straining to keep up with the power failures after storms,homeowners are increasingly taking matters into their own hands.For as little as $150, consumers can buy a 1,000-watt gasoline-powered portable generatorat a big-box store like Home Depot that will keep a few home appliances running forseveral hours.Larger homes with more appliances require more powerful generators that can cost wellover $2,000 yet keep refrigerators, heaters, water pumps and other essential equipmentrunning. Hookups to a home’s electrical system are extra and can require a licensedelectrician.Now those with portable generators are being outclassed by homeowners with more moneyand larger homes springing for far more expensive standby units that can cost $10,000 ormore installed. Typically powered by natural gas or propane, they flick on automaticallyand almost instantly in a shutdown.“It’s not cheap, but people look at it as a home improvement product, particularly as theyage,” said Aaron Jagdfeld, the chief executive of Generac Power Systems, which recentlyproduced its one-millionth standby unit. “People are coming to the conclusion that poweroutages are becoming more frequent.”Generator makers do not release sales figures, but a report by the Consumer ProductSafety Commission in 2006 estimated that more than one million generators a year aresold, with portable units making up roughly 90 percent of the sales.Leading manufacturers like Generac and Honda, however, said sales had been unusuallystrong in the last several years and that the percentage of standby units had risen steadilyas Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Sandy and other major storms had led to widespreadfailures along the Eastern Seaboard.“The market has certainly increased, not just because of Sandy, but a plethora of weatherevents,” said Tom Pernice, marketing manager in the generator division at the AmericanMatt Roth for The New York Times6. WHEELSThe Secret Buried Cars of North CarolinasCore Banks7. Changing Perspectives Propel ChimpProtections8. THE ETHICISTCan a Juror Ever Fudge the Truth?9. LETTERHow Art Is Expressed10. Behind Scolding of the F.D.A., a Complexand Gentle JudgeGo to Your Recommendations »What’s This? | Don’t ShowTech companies tread lightlyin statements on U.S. spyingALSO IN DEALBOOK »Dole Food receives unsolicited takeover offer from C.E.O.Want to commit insider trading? Heres how not to do itPage 2 of 5Generators Become Must-Have Appliances in Storm-Battered Areas - NYTimes.com6/17/2013http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/generators-become-must-have-appliances...
  3. 3. Honda Motor Company. “When you get a Sandy, a Rita, a Katrina, there are issues.”One unintended consequence is the growing number of people — dozens a year — who diefrom carbon monoxide poisoning because they ran their portable generators in enclosedspaces without enough ventilation for the exhaust.“For every dead person, there are 10 people who got sick from carbon monoxide and didn’trealize it came from carbon monoxide,” said Albert Donnay, a toxicologist who has urgedgenerator manufacturers to include carbon monoxide sensors.The generator boom raises even larger questions about the reliability of the nation’selectrical grid and the ability of network operators to handle the more severe weather in anage when families are living in larger homes filled with a greater array of electrical devices.In their recent report card evaluating the country’s infrastructure, the American Society ofCivil Engineers gave the nation’s energy network a grade of D plus, which was unchangedfrom the prior report in 2009.“Investment in transmission has increased since 2005, but ongoing permitting issues,weather events and limited maintenance have contributed to an increasing number offailures and power interruptions,” the report said.Demand for electricity has grown by 25 percent since 1990, and utilities may need to spendas much as $1.5 trillion by 2030 to expand and update the nation’s electricalinfrastructure, according to the society.“We have all the technology available to strengthen the grid, but whether it’s being done isanother question,” said Michael Stavy, an energy economist who specializes in climatechange mitigation. “Generators are a short-term solution for something that the consumeris powerless to solve, so it’s rational to get one.”In the days after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Northeast, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ofNew York said that more money was needed to shore up transmission and distributionnetworks to prepare for extreme weather events, though he sidestepped the question ofwhat was causing them.“I don’t call it ‘global warming’ because you trigger a whole political debate,” he said lastOctober. “But the frequency of extreme weather is going way up.”The governor’s comment aside, it is unclear whether the storms that have hit the Northeastrecently are evidence of a growing pattern or a blip on the historical weather map.“Obviously, there have been two significant events in the Northeast over the past two years(Irene and Sandy) that some people might be reacting to,” James L. Franklin, a spokesmanfor the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said in an e-mail. “Whether this is a statisticalanomaly or the beginning of a trend is unknown.”He noted that the mid-1950s was a period of “a lot of tropical activity in the Northeast,” butit ebbed.Homeowners are not waiting for the debate to be settled because they have more pressingconcerns, like keeping their families warm (or cool) and healthy during emergencies, nomatter how frequently they occur.Ads by Google whats this?Windows XP Driver UpdatesWindows XP Drivers Latest Download.Microsoft Certified. (Recommended)Windows-XP.DriverUpdate.net3 Early Signs of DementiaDoctor: Know These 3 Warning SignsYoure About to Suffer Dementiawww.newsmax.comFun Schrodingers Cat TeeRock this tee like Sheldon Cooper,nerdy, awesome and 100% soft cottonwww.snorgtees.comPage 3 of 5Generators Become Must-Have Appliances in Storm-Battered Areas - NYTimes.com6/17/2013http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/generators-become-must-have-appliances...
  4. 4. That’s what prompted Charles LaDuca to buy a standby generator made by Generac thatruns on natural gas for his 6,400-square-foot home in Bethesda, Md.After several storms and power failures forced Mr. LaDuca, his wife and two children toabandon their home, he had the 14-kilowatt generator installed two years ago.Mr. LaDuca spent about $12,000 on the generator and installation, which took about sixweeks. The generator arrived promptly, but natural gas pipes had to be routed around thehouse and permits from the county were needed.But the generator, which automatically turns on during a power failure, provides power toabout 80 percent of Mr. LaDuca’s home, including to the stove, heater, garage door, lightsand television.Mr. LaDuca said he was the fourth of the 20 or so homeowners on his street to buy agenerator. “It’s sort of a luxury,” he said, “but we can run the house and keep the kidsoccupied and keep our food from getting spoiled. It’s expensive but it’s worth it.”Demand for generators has meant extra work for utilities like Con Edison, which has had a50 percent jump since 2010 in the number of requests to inspect the natural gas lines thatare being connected to newly installed standby units.Typically, licensed plumbers install any extensions to the natural gas pipes, and utilitiessign off on the connection of the generators to their gas lines, a service they provide at nocharge.While such standby generators are more expensive than portable units, consumers arelearning that they are more reliable because natural gas or propane is rarely interrupted byweather. By contrast, portable generators often require gasoline that may be harder to findafter storms as stations run short of fuel.The number of requests to install standby units “will stay steady because of more acuteevents and folks are being more self-sufficient,” said Robert Schimmenti, the vice presidentfor engineering and planning for electric operations at Con Edison.“The fact that we’ve had a few of these storms recently makes it top of mind for folks,” saidTimothy Cawley, the senior vice president for central operations at Con Edison, whichplans to spend about $1 billion during the next four years fortifying its operations. “Werecognize it’s a hardship to go without electricity, but it’s the new reality.”A version of this article appeared in print on April 25, 2013, on page F8 of the New York edition with the headline: PowerGrids Iffy, Populous Areas Go for Generators.SAVE E-MAIL SHAREGet Free E-mail Alerts on These TopicsPower Outages and Blackouts Generac Power Systems IncNortheastern States (US) Home AppliancesAds by Google whats this?2013 Best Skin TightenersPage 4 of 5Generators Become Must-Have Appliances in Storm-Battered Areas - NYTimes.com6/17/2013http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/generators-become-must-have-appliances...
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