Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Electric Power Restored After 73 Hours -- Was It Because of My Last Blogpost?

We know that social media can have positive and transformative effects.

Since the electric power blackout of last Saturday night due to the freaky Nor'eater snowstorm, I have been writing about this disaster, when ensconced in my Isenberg School of Management office, where my husband and I have sought shelter. I have been talking with numerous students and faculty colleagues as well as staff about their suffering due to the electric power blackouts.

I have written, on this blog, about the experiences that many have had to endure, why we must be redesigning our electric grid for resiliency and have highlighted what appears to be mismanagement in the restoration of electric power to our area and beyond.

Last night, before leaving the warmth of my office and entering our freezing home to try to endure a fourth night in the cold, I wrote The Night The Power Died -- 70 Hours Without Hear and Counting and challenged our utility, WMECO, while thanking all the crews and workers who have been laboring to restore electricity.

When driving home in darkness in Amherst on East Pleasant Street northward, my husband and I were greeted by two big trucks with colorful lights, which, to us, looked like Christmas trees, in signaling hope. My husband slowed down and observed what the WMECO workers were doing to the power lines and, given where we had seen some damage previously, figured (he is a professor of electrical and computer engineering so he knows his hardware) that this just might be the fix that was needed, at least to our immediate area.

90 minutes afterwards, we were woken up to light in a closet and the alarm clock blinking as we crawled from underneath 3 comforters that were piled on top of us on our bed, with woolly hats on our heads. We had electric power in our home and -- what joy!

I had written, a day earlier, A Call to Action -- Let's Design Resilient Electric Power Grids and get Out of the Dark Ages. And it does feel good that this blog is read and read internationally. The New York Times, now has an article, When Each Bad Storm Means More Dark Days.

Thanks to all who have sent me messages of concern, even from as far as Italy!

I do my best in conducting research and writing on networks, their fragility, and how to design them for greater robustness and resiliency with the best team of minds out there, in my supernetworks research group.

It is high time that the government, through top private-public partnerships, now does its share.

Or else, literally, the citizens will flee.