I'd just come back from my river trip and I was greeted by a power outage. I left trying to meet a deadline to get an article done when we were hit with a power outage before I left. I then lived for seven days without any power as we floated down the river and didn't miss it too much when I came back.
Neither power outage was associated with bad weather unless you count a heat wave bad weather. I don't have an official cause of either power outage so I am only speculating here, but it seems like we have a lot more power issues in the summer that in the winter.
Historically the winter months have been the time when society used the most energy consumption to keep warm. As our culture began to become more industrialized we used energy in the winter to light our homes and workplaces in the short days as well.
In the summer our energy needs dropped drastically with longer days. We cooled ourselves by leaving windows open and staying outside. Being hot was just a part of the rhythm of life.
Now we run computers and workplace lights all day. We air condition our homes, offices and shopping centers. Many places are cooled below the temperature we heat our buildings to in the winter. So now we actually consume more power during peak times in the summer than we do in the winter.
This behavior is more than our power grids were originally designed to handle. We become more susceptible to power outages as the weather hits the peak of summer. Although the companies that supply our electricity have done a great job of keeping us up and running, the power grid is a house of cards that could conceivably fail with the right combination of circumstances.
So what does that mean to us here in Price, Utah or elsewhere. It means we need to be a bit more proactive in our energy conservation. I don't mean going back to the stone age or even before air conditioning. I do mean deciding to try and use a bit less power during peak times.
Being a bit warm will not kill anyone. Sixty eight is too low for anyones air conditioning to be set. It is hard to find a thermostat set that low in the winter so why in the summer? Use passive climate control techniques to help keep your house or workplace cooler.
Drawing your blinds when the sun shines in helps immensely. Take a moment before you go to work to make sure you leave things in a way that keeps your house as cool as possible while running your AC as little as possible.
Embrace the summer for what it is. Encourage your kids to get out from behind the TV and video games and be outside. Set an example and quit complaining about the heat and enjoy it.
Eat in your back yard, run in the sprinkler, go down to the wave pool and live without power for at least one night every week.
Happy summer solstice to all.