Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Halloweenie

November 1, 2022

Upsadaisy. …

All Hallows’ Eve at El Rancho Pendejo was a total blowout, but not the kind one hopes for.

Some aspect of PNM’s power project in the ’hood unplugged half the cul-de-sac, including our place.

Around midmorning I saw a few trucks pull in and park, disgorging their hard-hatted contents into a neighbor’s yard. And so when a couple minutes later The Compound went dark I trotted out into my yard and spied them beavering away at some task beyond the wall.

“Hey, guys, the power’s out here,” I sez to ’em I sez.

“Oopsie,” they sez to me they sez, or something very much not like that.

Over we go.

Long story short, an autopsy found a transformer had been terminated with extreme prejudice and would not arise in three days or even three years. It would have to be replaced.

In case you were wondering, this is a tad more complicated than swapping in a new fuse after you try to run the box fan and hair dryer simultaneously in the ol’ singlewide.

The defunct transformer was in some impossible cranny in the yard, because of course it was, and the hard hats couldn’t just sherpa a new one in there. Superman was taking a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran at Warner Bros-DC, and the Hulk said he wouldn’t work on Halloween.

“This is gonna take some doing,” grumbled one hard hat, giving me the side-eye. Hey, boss, I didn’t hammer a stake topped with a Hillary 2024 placard through your transformer’s heart. I was camped in my office, pounding out the fake news, and free of charge, too.

Or I was until the power went out, anyway.

But I keed, I keed.

What happened next was nothing short of amazing.

We — or at least I — have grown accustomed to the “sucks to be you” school of customer service. “We can pencil you in for between midnight and 4 a.m. on Feb. 31st, if that works for you, or even if it doesn’t.” That sort of thing.

But these dudes got right after it. They disappeared for a while, and I was anticipating a long wait for them to return, perhaps bearing electricity, or more likely, excuses.

Nope. In fairly short order the cul-de-sac was clogged with pickups and flatbeds and a big-ass crane, and before you could say “Thomas Edison” the crane was hoisting a new transformer over the neighbor’s roof and into the yard.

Jack-o-taillights.

As dark fell the hard hats were eating pizza from boxes on the hoods of the trucks, and we were eating jambalaya from bowls, and everyone was watching the crane operator perform his magic.

“That’s something you don’t see every day, hey?” said a hard hat.

For real.

We lit our plastic pumpkin with battery-powered Cygolite tail lights, brightened the front walk with their companion headlights, and used a couple rechargeable lanterns indoors (Biolite and Nite Ize).

But with all the goings-on in the cul-de-sac most of the neighborhood trick-or-treaters decided to give us a pass. Herself handed out some treats to the hard hats, but we have plenty left over. It was easily our worst turnout since the height of the Plague Years.

But the power’s back on, and the hard hats popped round this morning to double-check their work. Well done indeed.

Let there be light.

Toasted

July 29, 2022

Skeeters drove Herself indoors to sit in the dark and play with her iPhone.

A power outage woke us at 5 a.m., and the usual comedy ensued.

I keep a largish Mag-Lite under the nightstand for the illumination/bludgeoning of evildoers, so I grabbed that and wandered around El Rancho Pendejo trying to remember where all the other battery-powered lights were hiding as Miss Mia Sopaipilla followed me ahead of me yowling, “WTF, dude?”

With the Petzl headlamps and BioLite lantern located I stepped outside for a quick assay of the situation. It was the usual weirdo, with half the cul-de-sac dark, and an iPhone peek at the PNM website disclosed a 40-something-user outage, no cause determined, restoration of power guesstimated at a couple hours.

Some dope fiend probably liberated a transformer, I thought as I made coffee on the gas range by Petzl-light. Afterward, Herself went outside to feed the mosquitos on the patio while I dug out my little JBL Bluetooth speaker, dialed up R.E.M. on YouTube, and cranked “It’s the End of the World (As We Know It)” at maximum volume for the amusement of the neighborhood. Or not.

“Shut that shit off,” Herself advised. But I played it right to the end and then danced around the house singing, “It’s the end of the toast as we know it,” because our toaster is not gas-operated. Oatmeal would have to do.

Can it happen here?

February 19, 2021

Punch a button, the heat comes on. Magic!

Here’s a story that every daily newspaper should be running as of, oh, day before yesterday.

Is your state’s power grid in shape for a Texas-size storm? Do you even know where or how your state gets its power?

I sure don’t. Lucky for me there’s this magic button on the wall, and when I press it, zoom, I control the weather! Inside the house, anyway, and only if nothing goes wrong outside it.

Here’s a New York Times story from last fall breaking down how making electricity has changed over the past two decades. Regarding New Mexico, it reports:

Coal has been New Mexico’s primary source of electricity generation for nearly two decades. But coal-fired power has declined since 2004 in response to tougher air quality regulations, cheaper natural gas, and California’s decision in 2014 to stop purchasing electricity generated from coal in neighboring states.

Natural gas, wind and solar accounted for a little more than half of the electricity produced in New Mexico last year, up from just 15 percent two decades earlier. In 2019, the state legislature passed a law requiring utilities to get 50 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2030, rising to 100 percent by 2045.

According to [the U.S. Energy Information Administration], New Mexico has among the highest potential for solar power in the country. The state also sends a significant amount of electricity to California, which has long set aggressive renewable energy goals.