There is definitely a power problem when extreme weather conditions are faced by the United States. This was the case last winter when extreme cold temperatures went on to highlight the vulnerability of power supply. Power outages are not rare in cases of snowstorm. However, even a cold weather is enough to cause problems. The same is the case when there is too much of moisture, or when the temperatures are too hot.
Why electric systems fail to operate in extreme weather conditions
There are around thousands of components in the electric system. These are mostly electromechanical and have several moving parts. These systems would be best working when they are operating in the middle temperatures and the moisture range for which they were built for. When they are new, their design may withstand extreme temperatures and they may continue to operate correctly. However, as they age, they may not be able to operate in the same way in adverse weather conditions.
Stress is the main problem
Usually the power systems will keep functioning correctly even when faced with extreme hot or cold weather as long as they are not being subjected to stress. When moisture increases or when it is too cold or too hot, these systems would tend to operate in an unpredictable way. They may operate faster or much slower. This is especially the case when they are being made to perform really hard. This is evident when there is a problem such as a circuit breaker.
How to minimize the impact of extreme weather conditions
There are many steps that can be taken for minimizing the impact of extreme weather conditions on the power supply. First and foremost, it needs to be ensured that the power plants have been properly insulated. If properly insulated, the support equipments will be working fine.
The aged infrastructure should always be removed. Additional status monitoring equipments need to be added, while load forecasting needs to be improved. All these steps will help power equipments withstand the extreme weather conditions.
The problem is that implementing these measures will incur a cost. This is especially true when it comes to replacing the aged infrastructures. People though would be happy to see these measures implemented, yet they would be quite unwilling to see this come at the price of their electricity rates going up. The underlying source of concern is that the aging infrastructure would start failing more than often. It could also fail in a catastrophic way. This would result in a longer period of inconvenience and the costs incurred would also be much higher.
Hence, this problems need to be treated seriously for the betterment of the society on a whole.