From Edison to Enron: The Business of Power and What It Means for the Future of Electricity
Richard MunsonISBN: 027598740X;
The blackout of 2003 illuminated just how dependent America is on electricity. It was not just that some 50 million people in eight states and Ontario were cut off from their Televisions, microwaves, ATMs, and email. Without the electrical juice needed to keep their sockets alive, factory managers were forced to close production lines, city managers shut down water deliveries, grocery store clerks watched their frozen inventory slowly melt away. Economists estimated that the blackout cost Americans $5 billion even as energy analysts were predicting that a similar blackout could happen again. The catastrophe forced us to marvel at the unusual ability of sub-microscopic particles to move like waves inside a wire and cause bulbs to glow. It highlighted the complex requirements for managing the massive generators, transformers, transmission lines, and switch boxes needed to tap and deliver flowing electrons. And it revealed the cracks in a 100-year-old industry structure that have been...