Our little blackout

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Good afternoon,

Over the past few days, our home has been without power for about nine hours. Luckily, the blackout came in off hours and did not result in our digital enterprise temporarily relocating to the nearest hotspot or Starbucks.

Yesterday, Delmarva Power left a voice mail apologizing for the disruption and noting that a permanent fix would be undertaken regarding outages that have affected nearly 250 customers in the Bear area.

The tiny wave of outages from buried lines came after nearly three decades of seeing our area avoid more lengthy blackouts in other parts of Delaware.

A few decades ago, many areas of New Castle County – including Bear-Glasgow, Pike Creek and Hockessin – underwent a growth spurt that led to miles of new underground and above-ground utilities.

That infrastructure is now beginning to be affected by father time and an increasing dependence on electricity in the digital age. Other global threats come from grid computer networks in some areas that are said to be vulnerable to hacking.

For its part, Delmarva crews and contractors have been busy upgrading the system and moving the reliability figure well past 90 percent.

But our little outage illustrates that much work will have to be done as the grid ages.

The Delaware Public Service Commission has questioned the need for bigger rate increases, citing the diminishing returns on investment once the reliability benchmark is reached.

A couple of outages might change some minds. – Doug and Sharon Rainey

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