Access to Electricity: Luxury or Right?

wiscoaster

Active member
More than likely, another generator makes up the difference at whatever price they are currently charging, and the one that has failed to provide power covers that cost.
They don't really keep that kind of excess capacity just sitting around not being used, though, do they? Wasteful and non-productive use of physical plant, and all that, you know. Not good corporate use of assets ...
 

WrongHanded

Active member
They don't really keep that kind of excess capacity just sitting around not being used, though, do they? Wasteful and non-productive use of physical plant, and all that, you know. Not good corporate use of assets ...
Well, they certainly have (in normal times) the ability to produce more power than is being used. Collective power creation has to pretty much exactly match collective power usage. But as there are peak times of power usage, it also stands to reason there are times of low demand.
 

wiscoaster

Active member
Well, they certainly have (in normal times) the ability to produce more power than is being used. Collective power creation has to pretty much exactly match collective power usage. But as there are peak times of power usage, it also stands to reason there are times of low demand.
Well, maybe I didn't make myself clear. They maintain peaking capacity to handle the expected/forecast variable peak power demands of their own customers, but I don't think they're going to keep additional power production capacity available to be able to handle the unknown and unexpected demand of the customers of another producer's failed production, per the scenario posed. Then a failure of one producer induces an unexpected demand on other producers they can't handle if they're already at peak, resulting in the same power outage situation the current production & distribution setup induces under those conditions.
 

WrongHanded

Active member
Well, maybe I didn't make myself clear. They maintain peaking capacity to handle the expected/forecast variable peak power demands of their own customers, but I don't think they're going to keep additional power production capacity available to be able to handle the unknown and unexpected demand of the customers of another producer's failed production, per the scenario posed. Then a failure of one producer induces an unexpected demand on other producers they can't handle if they're already at peak, resulting in the same power outage situation the current production & distribution setup induces under those conditions.
If you take a look at grid wide power production (choose your grid), I think you'll find that collectively between all the generators, there is a comfortable excess of available power production past typical peak rates. Possibly less so in Texas.
 

WrongHanded

Active member
@wiscoaster think about it this way:

Firstly, running equipment such as generators at full throttle on a regular basis is generally considered bad for them. If you want a pickup truck to last, you don't buy one that will just barely tow the maximum load you regularly pull. Usually you'd buy a truck that could handle more than that so you don't beat it to death. In fact, the emissions limits set by the DOE have obviously had this effect on at least some of the generators in Texas, where they could generator more electricity, but only by exceeding emissions limits. Which in itself ensures there is extra capability available.

Secondly, I think you might be assuming that a given power company has the right number of customers using close to the right amount of power at peak usage to match their maximum output. Which seems unlikely.

Thirdly, it's also likely that, overseeing bodies being what they are, they likely restrict maximum allowed output of generators to some fraction of their true maximum capabilities precisely to ensure there is an excess of power generating capability available on a grid. Though, that's most definitely speculation on my part.

I'm not trying to be difficult. But it's my understanding that more power generation exists than is being used at peak times, and these are some of the reasons that is likely the case.
 

wiscoaster

Active member
.... But it's my understanding that more power generation exists than is being used at peak times, and these are some of the reasons that is likely the case.
That may be wrt to aggregate total generation, but it's more a case of being able to deliver it when and where it's needed that's the cause of widespread power outages. A distribution system is only capable of carrying so much before it melts.
 
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