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Power Down in Florida--Accident, Attack or Test?

Bring the candle over, dear,It's very hard to see
Shine so I can see the screen of battery TV

Lights are out all over from Daytona to the Keys
Line failure's marching through Flor'da.

(to the tune of 'Marching Through Georgia')

Weird story, just breaking now so I suppose some confusion is unavoidable. Massive storms are hitting the northern part of the state, but this outage is in the south, I wasn't kidding about the "Daytona to the Keys" line (although they say the Keys are coming back on. I'd like to see where the southernmost power plant is before I believe this story.)

Another cascade effect at any rate. Reminds me of the one a few years ago where literally a tree branch down on a transmission line knocked out the whole Northeast from Ohio to New York and other places.

Weren't we going to beef up the infrastructure after that? Oh, wait.....

Yeah, we would get more security by invading Iraq. Never mind.

(I havent' heard if Orlando is affected yet of it it's just on the Coast. Hell, Disney probably has their own power plant so they wouldn't be affected. Just as well. I don't want to think of what a power outage would do there. Roller coasters, y'know.Plus the ice cream will melt.)

UPDATE: I left this out because I was in a hurry and though I had heard it wrong...but this outage, they're saying now, is cause by eight generating plants going offline at the same time (just after 1 p.m. EST).

Three of the eight were the nuke stations at Turkey Point. Not trying to get the tinfoil too tight here but power plants of whatever source tend not to take well to a sudden loss of load. I'd still like to know what could have cause this; midwinter, time of least air conditioning, should be the low point of annual demand.

In these times of turmoil and strife one always wonders who would stand to benefit from a conveeeenient emergency like this. A "Homeland Security" unannounced test of the system that found more than it bargained for? A subtle hint from the Chinese from whom half the electronics was bought, that we should be a little more polite so as not to harsh their Olympic buzz? REAL bad guys (whatever that means)?

Beats me. At least do what you can and don't be calling people down there on the phone. You know the system's gotta be overloaded and you will just make it worse. Let them call you when they get to where they can pick up a signal.

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intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

Seriously? Eight plants going offline at the same time, and the CIA hacker story doesn't come to mind?

CIA Says Hackers Have Cut Power Grid -- Several cities outside the U.S. have sustained attacks on utility systems and extortion demands.

FoxNews: CIA: Hackers Shut Down Foreign Power Grid

WIRED: CIA: Hackers Shook Up Power Grids

Idaho National Laboratory was remote accessed by a hacker and a $1 Million diesel-electric generator destroyed

intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

My understanding is that if the supporting power plants go down the nukes have to shutdown. When the nuke plants lose one or two of the supporting power grid lines, they have no backup in case of emergency and go into auto-shutdown. RIght? So it could have been a cascade or one or two plants that brought down part of the grid and the nuke plants responded by shutting down as well.

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

It sounded as though a giant circuit breaker tripped: one or two shut down and the whole system goes down to protect itself:

The outage was linked to equipment failure in an electrical substation. That, in turn, triggered a cascading effect that resulted in eight power plants shutting down or going off-line. The facilities that closed included nuclear reactors in Homestead, south of Miami. Officials at the Miami-Dade County emergency management center said they were able to monitor the situation fully.

I'm not going to get tin-foily about this (yet).

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

in about 2000-2001, we had a four-state blackout including parts of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas -- happened 'cause a kid at a power station was washing a truck outdoors on a windy day, and spray got into some components. Plant went down, regional plant-protection cascade kicked in, four or five hours of no lights, etc.

at a coal-fired power plant in the Panhandle (Bailey County IIRC, aka the Muleshoe plant) a kid washing a truck took out the lights in four states.

you want me to worry about the Chinese?
or terrorists, or hackers, or ... FSM-knows-what, when a kid with a water hose can take down power in four states?

I'm laughing so I won't start crying, by the way, 'cause if I ever start to cry I won't be able to stop.

Charles Lemos's picture
Submitted by Charles Lemos on

we resembled a third world country more and more. To be frank, cities in Latin America are more livable these days.

vicki's picture
Submitted by vicki on

It's been hot as hell in S. Fla. Plenty of demand.

The Keys did have power restored after about 50 minutes, but I can't tell you why. While we're used to frequent power outages in the Keys, you certainly don't hear about 4 HUGE counties going dark. What a fucking mess that must have been on the mainland. Oy.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

on this issue: the progressive leader who wants to head a movement will be able to invigorate a depressed economy and employ all sorts of green technology, when progressives are finally allowed to tackle these problems.

right now, it's the corporatists and cronies and the uncaring. eventually, people will get sick of that. "why are we paying for iraqis to (not) have running water and lights when we don't have any?" that's the question i'd be asking in FL today.

kids, spooks, whatever- the point is: can anyone imagine how to build a system that doesn't crash all the time? like, smaller, greener, more independent systems that are public utilities, run not for profit but for efficiency? americans are lazy and spoiled, but i don't think most will want to give up indoor lights and heat.

intranets's picture
Submitted by intranets on

So relay got overheated and caught fire, the substation didn't trip properly to isolate the substation from the main line, as a result one of the nuke reactors shutdown after one minute from the fire sensor going off.

That probably cascaded the rest of the plants.