Sandy outages may help rethink power grid

Long-term power outages in the wake of Sandy have led many experts to scrutinize the power delivery infrastructure and look at how it could be strengthened.

CORRECTION: The article originally incorrectly spelled the name of Arshad Mansoor. The text has been corrected.

This morning, New Jersey has finally ended its even-odd gas rationing program. Yet, there are still tens of thousands of people in the Northeast who have no electricity, two weeks after Sandy came ashore.

The long restoration period has led many power grid experts to scrutinize the power delivery infrastructure and look at how it could be strengthened to withstand future storms. "We have to make the grid more resilient going forward," says Arshad Mansoor, the senior vice president of research and development at the Electric Power Research Institute in North Carolina.

Mansoor says one way of preparing for the future is to "harden" infrastructure by selectively moving power lines underground, building higher flood levees, and moving power stations to safer ground. While these improvements carry a hefty price tag -- burying lines can cost as much as $2 million a mile -- Mansoor says there is the will to change: "The utility industry always learns from an event like this because these are events that have major impacts on consumers."

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.


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