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Author Topic:   Power went off
Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 10 of 36 (884428)
02-18-2021 10:04 AM


When the going gets tough the liars get going!
I hear the Texas governor has already conceded that it wasn't green power that brought down the Texas grid. How did he imagine the northern parts of the country are able to get windmills and solar power to work? Did he ever really believe such an absurd charge was going to stick?

Fun fact about solar: solar cells are less efficient at higher temperatures. Though the north gets much less sun than the south, especially in winter, its solar cells run about 15% more efficiently on average because of lower operating temperatures.

Many of the news reports out of Texas mention very low inside temperatures (in the 30's) and burst pipes, so it sounds like Texas homes might tend to have little or no insulation, and that they might not avoid running water pipes in outside walls.

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by jar, posted 02-18-2021 10:20 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 12 by PaulK, posted 02-18-2021 11:14 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 24 of 36 (884452)
02-20-2021 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by jar
02-19-2021 1:27 PM


Re: My sister finally has power.
jar writes:

The Mission water supply is fine. We never lost pressure and the plant is winterized. Even when the power was out all over we never had a water issue. Edinburg (next town over) is under a boil alert still.

You're only 15 miles from the southernmost border Texas has with Mexico. Kind of amazing that the cold reached that far south. Lack of winterization in your part of Texas seems justifiable. You're at roughly the same latitude as Miami.

New England has to prepare for both ends of the weather spectrum. There's always a couple periods during summer when temperatures reach near or past 100 causing demand for electricity to skyrocket as all the air conditioners flip on. And there are usually several winter periods where temperatures drop near or below zero, causing furnaces across the region to blow through natural gas (which is cheap), oil (not so cheap but energy dense) and propane (expensive and not very energy dense but very clean and very portable, and it doesn't have the problem that oil has with the oil tank, which when you switch from oil is considered hazardous waste). Commercial buildings tend to use electricity for heat, but it's fairly efficient per square foot for large buildings because of their low surface to volume ratio.

Articles about the Texas problems frequently mention the very low price of electricity. Ours just dropped a penny a few months ago and is now around $0.17/kWh. Electric cars here cost about 2/3 as much to run in terms of fuel as ICE vehicles, but in Texas it would be 1/3 as much. Our gas prices currently average around $2.50/gallon for regular.

--Percy


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 Message 22 by jar, posted 02-19-2021 1:27 PM jar has responded

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Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 29 of 36 (884498)
02-22-2021 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by kjsimons
02-21-2021 4:45 PM


Re: Ted Cruz discovers that lassez-faire capitalism is bad
The widespread lack of foresight is stunning. Griddy customers knew what was coming because Griddy warned them to switch to another plan before the bad weather hit. Most weren't able to switch in time, but they could have taken precautions against high electric bills. Most modern thermostats can go down to 40°. Those whose electricity didn't go out could have turned the thermostats way down and piled on the blankets.

This is back of the envelope, but the retired guy with the $17,000 bill was using maybe around 300 kWh per day for maybe six days. That's an incredible consumption rate. It seems unlikely he turned his heat down, maybe a little.

Those whose electricity did go out could have put their faucets on drip to keep their pipes from bursting. Alternatively they could have drained their pipes. Our electricity went out for 10 days after a 2008 ice storm, and when the temperature in the house got down to 37° (note to Texas: insulation!) I resolved to drain the pipes the next day. Fortunately the power came back on first.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by kjsimons, posted 02-21-2021 4:45 PM kjsimons has responded

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 Message 30 by kjsimons, posted 02-22-2021 5:28 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 33 of 36 (884514)
02-22-2021 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by dwise1
02-22-2021 6:04 PM


Re: Ted Cruz discovers that lassez-faire capitalism is bad
dwise1 writes:

Unable to find that, you can go the water meter which is in a box at the curb and shut it off there.

I'm curious how this shutoff works since none of the water pipe can be above ground else it would be vulnerable to freezing. Or do they maybe use a flexible kind of pipe that can handle water expansion?

Here in the northeast all outside water pipe is buried at the frost line and runs straight through the foundation. The pipe from our well comes into the basement about five feet below ground level.

Most houses in the northeast have basements. We do know that some houses here get built on slabs, but I'm not sure how they handle the water pipes to the outside. My guess is that piping to the outside is put down before they pour the slab.

We like to walk through houses under construction, and lately they've been using flexible plastic tubing instead of copper pipe. Looking this up I see the plastic piping is called PEX and that it is freeze resistant but not freeze proof.

--Percy


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 Message 34 by kjsimons, posted 02-22-2021 7:09 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
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