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"Living without electricity" report

 
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:16 pm    Post subject: "Living without electricity" report Reply with quote

https://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/living-without-electricity

An interesting report into a major power failure caused by flooding.
Many thousands lacked power for over 24 hours.

The lack of modern communication is particularly noted. The local radio station using very dated technology was the main source of information.
Almost no internet or cellphone service.

I recommend a thorough study of this report, partly as guide to what might happen next time, and what precautions that individuals and businesses should take.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even the first line is telling:

Quote:
For more than half a century Britain has had a reliable electricity supply


...less than a lifetime.

Anyway, working my way through it and it makes for sobering reading.
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating stuff. I have no faith our gov can come up with useful solutions. It would be interesting if they did a follow up proposal document.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'islanding' of the university wind turbine is telling, as are the myriad consequences of the privatisation binge.
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Potemkin Villager



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one!

"Although the kitchen is fitted with gas cookers, these could not be used because they are interlocked with the electrically-powered extractor fans. The chef built a barbeque in the garden (during the tail end of Storm Desmond) to prepare a meal for the residents."
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BritDownUnder



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very sobering reading.

In many ways society is going backwards in terms of resilience. As an example in my second year at university in the UK in 1990 we had a power cut due to snow bringing down lines and the power was off for 9 days in total. At that time we lived in country in Nottinghamshire. We built an igloo out of the snow on the ground and covered with a tarp to the put the contents of the fridge and freezer in.
We cooked, heated the hot water cylinder and the house with a Rayburn coal fired stove that required no pumping or electricity at any stage.
Television was watched using our caravan battery and B&W television which was charged from the car each day. This also provided a light in the kitchen. Candles were used for long time lighting and torches for quick trips up and down stairs where candles would be dangerous.
All in all we did OK. Minus the fridge we could have carried on indefinitely until the candles or coal ran out.

Fast forward to 2018 and I either live in an all electric apartment (where I live when I am away on the job) on the 7th floor where everything would be down as soon as the power went down or in a house with grid tied solar heating and wood burning cooking stove. A big step backwards really, something which I am trying to rectify.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
The 'islanding' of the university wind turbine is telling, as are the myriad consequences of the privatisation binge.


Almost all large wind turbines and almost all PV arrays are grid tied and wont function without a grid connection.
This continues to surprise individuals and organisations when a power failure occurs.

A lot of CHP plant is also grid reliant and can also be a source of surprise in such circumstances.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gas central heating, too (just seen this is the very first 'unexpected' thing the guy in the intro mentions...)

Also Lancaster: that's almost home turf for me (we used to live near there).

FECK ME THAT REPORT IS GOBSMACKING I've just had to take a break from it to do something else (see 'Renewable Candy's Hardcore Challenge' in Self-sufficient-ish).
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lessons to be learned and preps made by ordinary people.

Central heating wont work. Make certain that you can heat one room without your central heating. A fire place or stove is best, a portable heater that burns paraffin or LPG worth considering. keep fuel for a week.

Remember that there will be NO lighting, not just in your home but no street lights or lights from neighbours. Keep battery powered lights and enough spare batteries for a weeks use. As a minimum, have one high powered spotlight or torch, a small pocket torch, and a long run time lantern.

Cellphones probably wont work, think twice before getting rid of your landline and relying only on a cellphone.
Cordless telephones connected to a landline wont work. Make certain that you have a corded phone that plugs directly into the master phone socket.

Internet service is unlikely to be available. Look up vital information such as phone numbers and write it down, in more than one place.

Digital radio broadcasts are not to be relied on. Make certain that you have a battery powered radio for FM and medium wave broadcasts, plenty of spare batteries, and a list of radio frequencies.

Remember that many shops will be shut, and that those are open will likely accept only cash. Keep a reserve of cash, remembering that cash machines wont be working.
Keep a store of food that needs no refrigeration and that can be eaten cold.

Water supplies may be affected. Keep bottled water for at least a week. keep a reserve stock of shirts and underwear so that you can go a week or more without doing any laundry.
Keep supplies of disposable tableware to avoid the need for washing up.

Vehicle fuel is unlikely to be available, keep your vehicle tank at least half full at all times. Keep a reserve of fuel if possible.

Remember that a heat wave can be dangerous especially without electric fans, or the ability to sit in an airconditioned vehicle.
Make certain that you have a decent battery powered fan and plenty of batteries.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lessons to be learned and preparations to be made by businesses and institutions.

Most CHP schemes and renewable energy installations provide NO PROTECTION WHATSOEVER against power cuts.
If you believe that yours DOES provide backup power, then test this.

No large scale heating system works without electricity.

Emergency lighting from batteries is unlikely to run for more than 3 hours.
Remember also that emergency lighting is intended to facilitate safe and orderly evacuation, and NOT for the continuation of normal work.

UPS systems for IT equipment are generally intended to permit an orderly shutdown after a few minutes and NOT for the continuation of normal work.

Most internal telephone systems wont work without electricity.

A general lack of internet service is likely.

Even if water is still available from the water company mains, it may be pumped within your premises and therefore not be available.

For premises that can not be readiliy evacuated, such as student housing and old peoples homes, make plans for an extended power outage.
Cheap and safe portable lighting. An led torch for each person might be a minimum.
A fire patrol may be needed, equipped with powerful torches or lanterns and hand bells. Kick on doors and shout "FIRE" in the absence of a working fire alarm system.
A fit person should be sent to run to the nearest public telephone to call the fire brigade.
Remember that fire hose reels and wet risers within your premises may be inoperative without electricity.

In large organisations, a few selected persons should be supplied with Inmarsat satellite telephones, and plenty of batteries. Ensure a very generous amount of prepaid credit, £100 as a minimum, £500 would be better.

Public transport operators need to review their reliance on electricity for fuel pumps, and lighting vital facilities.
A bus garage for example ought to consider a portable 24 volt fuel pump that can be powered by a bus battery. 24 volt lighting in key areas of a bus garage is worth considering, powered from a bus.
Electric railways should consider a minimum standby supply at stations for lighting, derived from the traction current.
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Last edited by adam2 on Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most electric railways now buy their power in from the grid so their traction current will fail as well.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
Most electric railways now buy their power in from the grid so their traction current will fail as well.


Electric railways do indeed obtain power from the national grid, but this often remains on when local supplies have failed.
AC electric railways are a very "disturbing" load due to being large, single phase and intermittent, they are therefore supplied from high voltage grid feeder points so as to minimise disturbance to other customers.
In the particular failure that is the subject of the report, the electric trains still ran but the station had to close at dusk due to no platform lighting.

DC electric railways have somewhat lower demands and are at least balanced three phase. The old Southern railway maintained its own distribution network at 33KV to feed the numerous trackside transformer/rectifier units.

During the great Dartford power failure, the DC electric trains still ran but stations also had to shut at dusk for want of platform lighting.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzy wrote:
Fascinating stuff. I have no faith our gov can come up with useful solutions. It would be interesting if they did a follow up proposal document.


IMO, it is not for national government to come up with useful solutions.

I would suggest that individuals and organisations need to better prepare for large scale power outages.
In this case, a lot of luck mitigated the consequences.
The initial failure was at the weekend with schools and most workplaces being empty.
Imagine the chaos if the power went off at say 10-00 on Monday !

What if the weather had been colder ?

Schools and workplaces, and private citizens really need to be better prepared.
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