Most people in the United States only think about where electricity comes from when the lights go out suddenly.Then again ...
But unless the antiquated transmission grid is fixed, expensive blackouts that bring modern life to a grinding halt will become ever more common, according to "Lights Out" (Wiley, $27.95), a new book by Jason Makansi.
The average US electricity customer loses power for more than three hours annually – outages that cost the US economy about $80 billion.
That may be about to change.
America's power grid has a new cop on the beat, ready to slap stiff fines on power companies that don't meet new national standards for grid reliability. The standards become mandatory on Monday.
Reliance on voluntary guidelines and collegial cooperation among power companies is out. Fines of as much as $1 million a day are in – levied by the North American Reliability Corp. (NERC), which is freshly armed with a federal mandate.