What is the public perception of the U.S. electricity grid?

May 9, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear NewsMeredith Angwin

Meredith Angwin

When my book Shorting the Grid was published in 2020, many described it as “alarmist.” Most people in the United States took grid reliability for granted. Sure, there were always power outages during storms, but weird things like “rolling blackouts” only happened in California.

Public perception is changing, however. Part of this change is due to the major February 2021 blackout in Texas, as well as the grid emergencies during December 2022. People became aware that their own grid could have problems, and not just the usual power-line-fails-in-a-snowstorm type of problems. For example, last December, the service areas for Duke Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority in the southeastern U.S. experienced rolling blackouts. Grid operators had to take emergency measures. The Midwest, Texas, and New England experienced near misses with grid trouble. In other words, most of the country was at risk of rolling blackouts due to one relatively short winter storm.

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