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The dark night returns: Eversource grid in Boston flickers out across city

Dark night in South Boston

What South Boston looks like in the dark. Photo by Schneids.

Updated 9:10 am., Tuesday.

Wednesday's expected temperature drop can't come soon enough for Eversource's groaning Boston power grid - and the people who keep losing their AC and lights because of it.

Last might, more than 2,000 homes and businesses in South Boston and Charlestown lost power. South Boston's outage was concentrated east of L Street, the same part of the neighborhood that last power in the last heat wave in July.

Eversource reported smaller outages in Dorchester's Ashmont neighborhood, Packard's Corner in Allston, Readville in Hyde Park and the South End.

Dorchester's Ashmont area, Packard's Corner in Allston and Hyde Park in and north of Readville.

After power was restored in South Boston, some parts lost power again.

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Heatwave blackouts? Seems like there should be as often as they happen.

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Gather outside, grab some lawn chairs, flashlights, and have a great time conversing with each other. Bring out what beer or wine , etc., ice Is salvageable and enjoy.

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So partying all night outside is not an option

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If I did that, I'd be covered in welts by the time we got power. I'm the best mosquito repellent anyone else can have. Seriously - I've stood next to friend while we watched all the mosquitos ignore them as they zoomed in on me.

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This never happened in old Southie.

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If these recent blackouts are the result of the electrical grid being overtaxed, the problem is going to get worse as people rapidly shift to electric vehicles and appliances.

To expand and reinforce the gird will require a lot of digging, new/expanded substations, and high voltage lines. People have been opposed to these things in the past.

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Infrastructure advancements will, for sure, need to be planned out with the rise in popularity for electric vehicles.

Public communication of this, and how it is done, will be important. It's not simply saying we need to prepare for the future. Explaining what is happening now (instead of what might happen 20 years from now) is what will get people's attention.

Then there will be the people impacted by these changes. They'll throw roadblocks at everything. Maybe premium payments, well beyond what we would typically do (say, in an eminent domain situation) would help. It will be a small price to pay for big benefits.

Voting closed 74

Electric Vehicles aren't going to hurt you or the grid.

A city full of old fridges, dirty ACs, and poor insulation are far worse for our grid than a moderate uptick in EV adoption.

Even in Europe where EVs are far more popular and abundant due to incentives, the answer lies in managed fleet charging.

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How does this work for non-corporations? If everyone switches to EV the grid is going to have a huge draw at night when everyone is charging.

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But I also sleep fine without an AC.

Seeing as how when the weather got hot blackouts are already occurring, clearly something is wrong even without the additional load of electrical vehicles. Charging an electric vehicle can double or triple a household's electrical usage which is to say and additional 15-30+ kWh/day.

If people switch from natural gas & heating oil to electric heat pumps, that's another doubling of electrical needs.

The state and federal government are pushing these conversation hard. Auto makers are pledging to discontinue gas vehicle production within 10 years. Heat waves are becoming more common and with them, higher electrical usage from AC.

I'm in favor of the switch to electric everything and the oncoming problems with higher electrical usage isn't insurmountable. But there's no getting around the fact that the grid as it currently stands needs to be improved. Just replacing old refrigerators and ACs isn't going to fix it.

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Electrification is to blame. The power loss to the grid from EVs, the overbuilding of massive apartment / condo buildings and incentives to go to all electric over gas appliances are all going to disrupt the power supply now and in the future because the system was built for 25% of the current population. Electric Company do not have even enough workers to repair and maintain its existing operations. It will be worse in the winter when EVs lose efficiency and will strain the power grid even more. All modern heating systems need electricity to work. The "green energy policy" does not work so well in northeast. Investment in increasing generation and capacity is lagging behind. Too many people not enough infrastructure.

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Texas: "Hold my Lone Star"

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The response of many communities to growing numbers of heat waves has been to equip more and more homes with air conditioning. Sometimes they will pass high minded resolutions about fossil fuels in other countries or straws stuck in turtle noses, ban plastic bags and putting in bike pumps. While this makes sense as a band aid our local governments are not addressing an immediate issue and that is the heat island affect.

Why are we not finding ways to reflect heat off of roof tops? Finding ways to reduce heat on streets and sidewalks? Putting in natural cooling water features? Local government has the power and ability to do these things right now and yet they focus more on the high brow and inside your home territories. Because it is easier. It is easier than putting in green pavers that need to still be mowed. I know nobody lives right there but Government Center is a huge example of wasted potential. A sea of bricks. I get that we need a place to gather that isnt mushy ground but green pavers could still be driven on.

The excuse is always "it will only reduce temps by one or two degrees. When it is 100 though and you do five things that reduce the temp you go from 100 to 95. Still hot and dangerous for many it is at least below our body tempetures.

Notice how these black outs are happening in older areas with many older residents that are also incredibly dense? It is a convergence of factors. Younger people can tolerate higher heats, big buildings are more efficient at cooling per person, areas with grass have a cooling buffer. These areas are also filled with people who have the resources to cool their homes for long periods of time. As local governments give lower income renters units and money to pay their new higher electric bill in the summer you will see this spread into other areas too. I am not against helping people cool their homes but it is irresponsible to do so without also addressing the issues that led to their homes being 120 degrees in the first place.

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Do you have proof that the older residents in Southie and Charlestown are much denser than older residents elsewhere?

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There is a big difference between a local distribution level outage vs a major transmission/generator caused regional event. You people need to get a grip.

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And pretty soon you're talking some big numbers.

Yeah, transformers and manholes blow all the time. And no, this isn't 1965. But the fact that there were blackouts across the city within the same time period is, I dunno, interesting.

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...the ever-insightful "you people" comment.

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My little area of HP lost electricity around 11 last night.

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Well there goes my weekend theory. ;)

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