OTHER VOICES

Aging electrical system

Posted Aug. 14, 2012, at 5:48 p.m.

Everybody and his brother — the Sierra Club, the natural gas industry, the solar industry, the wind industry, President Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson of the EPA — want to design the nation’s energy mix and the nation’s electrical system.

This is dangerous. The nation needs a reliable, affordable energy supply and a tough electrical grid.

It’s time Americans listened to the engineers.

As The Washington Post reported, the super-derecho storm of June 29 was just the latest indication of how badly the nation needs to pay attention to its electrical grid. The system is old, stretched to capacity and failing.

India’s failure to keep its system up to date resulted in more than half a billion customers losing power. It would be wise, politically, to make sure that does not happen to Americans.

The American Society of Civil Engineers reported that Americans need to spend $107 billion by 2020 to modernize their electrical infrastructure. The federal government throws around that kind of money on noncritical projects. It’s time for Congress to get this much more important work started. After all, politicizing energy and failing to make critical investments would be expensive as well.

“By 2020, the cost of service interruptions will be $71 billion, or if you break that down to households, $565 over that period,” the engineering society’s president, Andrew W. Hermann, told the Post.

Americans will not take kindly to games that affect their jobs and their security at home. Politicians should not risk it.

The Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail (Aug. 9)

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