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Friday, December 1, 2006

Storms in St. Louis, Again, Less Than Six Months Later

Power went out at 12:00 a.m. AmerenUE line busy.

Neighbors burned fire in a barrel using wood from vacant church across the street, 3:00 a.m. AmerenUE line still busy, as was 911.

Fell asleep, 5:00 a.m.

Got up, still no power, 8:00 a.m.

Went to gas station at 14th & Salisbury, 10:00 a.m.

Started using oven for heat, 10:45 a.m.

Drove to bank to get emergency cash, 1:00 p.m.

Made plans to stay with neighbors who have power, 3:00 p.m.

Power back on, 4:00 p.m.

City and AmerenUE get prepared for handling big storms, uh....

12 comments:

gmichaud said...

Check it out, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative had no mass outages in their service area. It is rural, including Warren County, some areas of St. Charles County and elsewhere, but you would think with many more miles of overhead lines they should have more problems. It would be interesting to check outages in Columbia, Jefferson City and Kansas City. Maybe Ameren has some type of management failure.

Matt Fernandez said...

Not making any excuses for Ameren, but the outages are where the heavy freezing rain fell. The freezing rain was concentrated from St. Louis to the south, east, and northeast, not out west were the heavy snow fell. That would be why there are no mass outages out there. BTW, here in my little part of S. St. Louis in Northampton, we did not lose power in July or this storm. Not even a flicker.

gmichaud said...

I talked to my cousin in Augusta and he said there was 3 inches of ice, my brother in Washington said he ran into a great deal of ice on his way home from work from New Haven.
It may be conditions were not exactly the same in the Cuivre River Co-op area, but still two devastating outages in one year has to make you wonder.
The first problem is Ameren is a for profit firm, their first goal is money, greed, and then more money. This is in spite of their monopoly status. I wonder if another business model may not be in order so that the customers come first. Perhaps a co-op for instance.
I did suggest that outages elsewhere may tell a different story. But Ameren deserves no excuses at this point. I know too many people who have suffered.
In fact you have to wonder why the whole system isn't underground in the first place. Especially in dense areas that can serve many people.

Anonymous said...

there were no outages in kansas city, mo. it sounds like ameren is awful. soon, they will be my electric company as i will be moving back to this region, except to st. louis city this time before the turn of 2007. kansas city power and light is good at what they do, and they build enough coal fired plants to power chicago...
sorry, ive had a few.

rand said...

"The first problem is Ameren is a for profit firm, their first goal is money, greed, and then more money. This is in spite of their monopoly status."

The problem is not that they are for profit, but that they have been bestowed with monopoly power. The law should allow for free competition in utilities. The theory of "natural monopoly" was created to justify the government monopoly priviledges granted to the lucky companies.

When there was competition in utilities, there were dozens of providers to choose from.

"Six electric light companies were organized in the one year of 1887 in New York City. Forty-five electric light enterprises had the legal right to operate in Chicago in 1907. Prior to 1895, Duluth, Minnesota, was served by five electric lighting companies, and Scranton, Pennsylvania, had four in 1906."

Burton N. Behling, "Competition and Monopoly in Public Utility Industries”

Wouldn't it be great if Ameren could lose its customers to other companies that are capable of keeping the lights on?

gmichaud said...

Now that you mention it I believe individual buildings and complexes of buildings often would have their own power sources. What about solar power? Remake the city by pointing to the sun. Generate electric at the house level ultimately seems to be the way to go. Conserve energy by utilizing row housing as was the common practice in cities up until the glutton years we are now living in..
Government does not encourage conservation nor new methods of independence due to its close relationship with major utilities, corporations etc.
King Blunt of Missouri has only made matters worse. The American people are extremely vulnerable, but we are too stupid to realize what can happen. These electrical failures are only a hint of what could be the future. Corporations can practically turn us into slaves by extorting us with their energy policies.
We are not independent, not sustainable, and rely too much on these corporations who could care less about anything but their god, the dollar.
Capitalism is fine, but this is some sort of governocapital corporate piracy.
Unfortunately the facts bear out these observations.

Anthony coffin said...

^gmichaude, very well said. I could not agree more. It would be great to see a devloper try doing some row-houses off the grid, I wonder how marketable they would be.

Maire said...

Michael!! OMG, please don't ever EVER again use your oven for heat! I realize you had to stay warm and for that I am truly sorry you were out of heat but do you realize how injured you could have become by heating your home with your oven? Even if you "just" stood in front of it to warm, dear lord! You can die from inhalation of gas and heaven forbid if someone lit a match or started a fire if you had gas heat! Or you could have sparked something else in your home by static conduction if you were using an electric oven!! Please don't ever do that again!


"In 2003, an estimated 7,600 reported U.S. home structure fires involving gas-fueled ovens or rotisseries resulted in 90 civilian injuries and $15 million in direct property damage. There were no reported civilian fire deaths...Non-fire deaths due to unvented carbon monoxide averaged 7.5 deaths a year in 1999-2002 for gas ranges and ovens."

Source: NFPA http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files//MbrSecurePDF/os.gasoven.pdf

gmichaud said...

Perhaps St. Louis should create an Office of the Sun to help city residents and developers utilize solar power. It might include orientation information, solar cells, conservation of energy, solar greenhouses and other technical assistance. It could include offshoots including permaculture and agriculture. Other related subjects might include wind energy, green building and sustainable development. Actually this would more accurately be an Office of Sustainability.
I put those words in a search engine, I found such an office, where else but the northwest in the City of Seattle, the City of Portland and a number of universities. While they don’t seem to emphasize solar power and the replacement of electric power specifically, it is a step in the right direction (They seem to include solar in Green Building, I feel solar and wind, while part of green building, should be separate efforts on their own due to the major impact that is possible).
The fact is St. Louis is way behind in efforts to create a livable, sustainable environment. Ameren UE is part of the leadership holding back progress in St. Louis.

gmichaud said...

The Church of the Dollar should be another creation of the leadership in St. Louis. The Church of the Dollar would have a shrine to the dollar bill where corporate leaders can come up and worship, bow and kiss the dollar. You know people like Ameren UE executives, and friends in organizations such as Civic Progress, Desco and MoDot. In general people who put profits ahead of the welfare of the community.
The Church of the Dollar could have cages where they display the government officials they own. And like Andy Warhol they could also create harnesses to hang government officials from the wall like works of art.
The Church could have a room of pleasure with a large vat of dollar bills so executives could jump in to feel the ecstasy of materialism in its highest form.
Instead of the Stations of the Cross there would be Stations of the Dollar displaying money from around the world.
Church offerings would be correctly labeled bribes, the golden calf would be their symbol, and each member would receive a miniature golden calf to lustfully treasure in secret.
The general public would not be allowed, since only these executives would be worthy of the benevolence of the God of the Dollar.

Anonymous said...

Stoves in a pinch. Would recomend a ventless gas heater without blower (availabe at home depot) in basement to come on when temp gets to 50 degrees in basement (you can alway increase temp when power goes out). This would keep pipes from freezing if you have your faucets upstairs on a slow drip than you could stay at your friends be warm and watch the news.

Anonymous said...

"Neighbors burned fire in a barrel using wood from vacant church across the street, 3:00 a.m. AmerenUE line still busy, as was 911"

While vacant, the church is private property. Did you ever get in touch with the police to report this criminal act?