Thanks for the tread, ThelmaLou.
I’ve seen a variety of news stories with various official-looking people claiming all is well with the grid. Each seems to report some sort of meeting, or agreement, or inspection which should assure us the power generation folks are spiffed up and gosh-durned ready this time. But not a single news story has mentioned what actual, physical changes have been made to wells, pumps, gas lines, etc. It’s as though Greg’s Minions showed each other some clever Power Point presentations and they all agreed it’s fixed.
But fixed what? Have they insulated the origin gas wells that failed last time? Do they have another source of power for the stations that lost natural gas, or those that generated power but depended on the state grid for their own control systems? And what about the windmills? Can we be certain they won’t run rogue and blow Ted Cruz’ plane off course to the Caribbean again, leaving us adrift and leaderless? (Maybe I misunderstood the problem last year, but I know it had something to do with commie windmills).
As for us, we were well-prepared as usual, but found flaws in our planning which needed correction. The shed where our backup water was stored had never frozen in the 29 years we’ve lived here. But it did this time, and we lost half of our water supply. Also, we were not prepared for the difficulty in two old people (one very ill and the other recovering from surgery) trying to move a 200lb generator out onto the driveway, hoist gas cans to fuel it, and start it. Thirdly, we were too dependent on generator-supplied electrical power for emergency heating. Fourthly, we were in no shape to heave a garage door up when the opener was without power. To be blunt, we were prepared for A or B or C to fail, but not for A and B and C to fail all at once.
So I spent most of this year correcting this. We have a new, semi-permanent, 12KW generator which runs on propane, with a 50A connector/transfer switch. We have installed large enough propane tanks to run it (conservatively) for about 16-20 days. The old, smaller generator is still ready as a backup-backup, and we have enough fuel to run for about 20-30 hours (along with connectors to adapt to the new switches). We also have portable propane (indoor safe) heaters along with the connectors and hoses to run from grill-sized tanks, or they can be connected to the little camping (1lb) for portability. We have enough to run these about 400 hours separate from the main generator tanks. We moved the water storage inside the garage, and into sturdier agri-tanks mounted higher on blocks (so we can easily fill buckets from the spigots). We insulated the garage and door to protect this supply. Also have two demand pumps (one 115V, one 12V) to transfer the water at low pressure to sinks/toilets/etc. We added two separate propane stoves (3 burners total) so we can cook directly from propane if we don’t want to run the gennie. We added backup batteries which automatically charge from either solar or grid to run: Garage door, Auto gate, and CPAP machine. I also installed emergency lighting in 5 different spots in the house, so we can safely move about if we lose power after dark. And we now take the house “off-grid” once a month to exercise the generators, and insure everything else works and is fresh and potable.
The message in all this is either: “One should always be prepared.” or “Never let a retired engineer get bored while stuck at home during a pandemic.”