Aging US Power Grid Is Failing

Power outages becoming increasingly critical problem
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2012 12:07 PM CDT
Aging US Power Grid Is Failing
In this photo take Feb. 14, 2011, a Duke Energy lineman works on power lines in Charlotte, NC.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The power towers in Ritchie County, West Virginia, were designed to withstand winds far in excess of 70 mph. But when winds that strong swept through on June 29, it knocked out four towers in a row. "I don't remember a time when this many came down," said one power company spokesman. "This is an unusual occurrence." But it's getting less and less unusual, the Washington Post reports. America's power grid is getting old, and it shows.

Parts of Manhattan suffered a brownout in July. Much of Boston lost power in March. And back in September, Southern California suffered what regulators deemed the worst grid failure since 2003. Whereas India's big blackout was caused by a lack of power, these incidents are caused by delivery system failures. "Basically all of our pipes are at full pressure," said one power company executive. "Electricity was primarily a luxury when the majority of our grid was built 50, 60 years ago." (More power outage stories.)

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