We almost lost the grid. The Dig Safe program keeps track of all the buried power lines. Before digging, it’s only prudent to check with them first. Dig Safe alerted a construction company to buried lines, but missed the fact that some pieces of key equipment was buried a lot closer to the surface.
How close did we come to losing the grid? The excavator actually hit the equipment and put a dent in it. The operator was alert enough to notice something wasn’t quite right. He shut down the operation.
Had the equipment been destroyed, it would have become a Homeland Security issue. The National Guard would have cordoned off the construction site. All tools and equipment would have been left behind. The company responsible would have been shut down. That’s how these things are handled these days.
The thing that impressed me what how fragile the grid is. There’s very little slack in the system. Destroying a small key part can cause cascading failures that radiate out a good ways.
People take power for granted, with no idea how fragile the whole system is. The New England grid had a close call, and hardly anyone knows about it. The people involved don’t want the details to come out, and I can respect that. Jobs are on the line here.
People really should give some thought on how they’d get by without the grid. Sooner or later, odds are the power will go down, and maybe for a long time.