Home generators & the aging grid

Posted by Dakota Thomas on Jul 29, 2020 5:13:19 PM


old power plant glen lyn


Everything in this world ages and with that comes certain problems. Whether that’s the aging electrical grid or your phone battery dying quickly after a few years, it’s just what happens. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that can be done to help though.


Your phone dying quickly, yeah it could be pretty annoying. Power going out due to wear and tear on the grid, now that may be a serious problem. While we rely on our phones nearly constantly in current times, power is also important. We’re increasingly dependent on technology which needs to be powered for use.


How are you supposed to charge that dying phone when the power is off? Drive around and use the car charger? That’s not exactly ideal. Gas pumps likely wouldn’t be usable without power either.




Maybe you could look at a home generator. A generator can power what you need until the power is back on. That may be minutes, hours or even days in some cases. Power outages are happening more frequently and the duration of the outages is increasing. This is largely due to an aging electrical grid where problems are happening more often and taking longer to fix.


What does the “grid” include?


  • It’s commonly understood to include the generating plant, substation, transformers, transmission lines, and the distribution lines.


What can cause parts of the grid to go down?


  • Weather: Storms often cause tree limbs to fall on lines or the wind blowing can create similar problems. Lines, transformers, and substation are outside which leaves them susceptible to weather. This may cause corrosion or damages to eventually create an issue.


power lines storm damage


  • Attacks: According to a study performed by USA Today, 1 in every 4 days, the grid is either attacked physically or through the web. Cyberattacks have become increasingly common of late and the government is looking to increase cybersecurity.



  • Age: Eventually, any product is bound to have problems. Some of that is just wear and tear while others could be malfunctions. Parts of the electrical grid are becoming very old. For example the average age of power plants is around 40 years old. Transformers are also on average above 40 years of age at this point as well. The substations, transmission lines, and distribution lines are rapidly approaching ages where they will be expected to be replaced.




How much does it cost to fix or replace?


  • It has been estimated to cost about 5 trillion dollars. Yep, that’s a lot.


So, will it turn into a catastrophe in time?


  • While issues like temporary power outages may increase in duration and frequency, talks have already begun to plan for the future. Because of how much it costs and the amount of work, making changes could take time.  It's highly doubtful that our grid will crumble but certain things may get worse before they get better. 




Is a home generator worth the cost for issues like this?


  • That’s up to you but for some it seems like it may make sense. People who need to power medical equipment, have refrigerators or freezers full of food, or just want to be prepared and comfortable might appreciate the security they could offer.


If you’re interested in learning more about generators and their uses, please visit our website at https://mcclintockelectric.com/electrical/standby-generators/

Our staff would be happy to speak over the phone to provide additional information.

Wooster: (330) 264-6380               Columbus: (614) 514-2909

Topics: generator, standby generator, power outage


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