Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Opinion >  Letters

How safe is our grid?

Pandemics come and go. Responses have varied over time. Each has left its impact on future responses. Most leave the lesson that being prepared is prudent. As time distances the “event,” life gets in the way and smart survival strategies recede to society’ s back burners.

In November of 1854 a solar storm shorted out the nation’s fledgling telegraph system. At that time the country was functioning in a pre-electrical age, and as such the event went largely unnoticed and was not overly impactful.

Today, such is not the case. If such a thing occurred tomorrow it is estimated that six-sevenths of the world’s population would not make it to the next decade.

Back-up transformers — a huge, complicated piece of machinery — needed to get electrical grids back up and running after an electromagnetic pulse occurrence are currently only manufactured in South Korea and Germany. It takes a fair amount of time to make these transformers. They are very heavy and difficult to transport. They are expensive.

Astronomers tell us these solar storms happen about every 125 years, so we’re past due. With spare transformers on hand, this disastrous calamity could be mitigated. Are utility companies taking steps to prepare for this when, not if event?

Hope so, otherwise we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

William Baxley

Spokane


 

Letters policy

The Spokesman-Review invites original letters of no more than 250 words on topics of public interest. Unfortunately, we don’t have space to publish all letters received, nor are we able to acknowledge their receipt. We accept no more than one letter a month from the same writer. Please remember to include your daytime phone number and street address. The Spokesman-Review retains the nonexclusive right to archive and re-publish any material submitted for publication.

Send letters to:
Letters to the Editor
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201

Email: editor@spokesman.com
Fax: (509) 459-3815
Questions?: (509) 459-5430