This Insight Has Been Interrupted

A view into the backyard at Editor Pamela Kufahl's house.

Best-laid plans really do go awry sometimes. I spent part of yesterday writing this week’s Insights column, knowing that a winter snowstorm expected to hit the Kansas City area would cause hazardous travel so I would likely be working from home. The “Insight” I had started was about how the industry had changed—or had not changed—in the 12 years since I last covered it.

However, I woke at 5 a.m. today to discover that my electricity was out. I grabbed my warm robe and my handy flashlight and headed downstairs to report my outage to my electric utility. I then put all the refrigerated food into plastic tubs and set them in the garage. I popped open my laptop to make use of the two-hour battery, putting together this shortened version of my editorial for this week since my originally planned editorial was not accessible. (Thank you to Nikki Chandler for typing this up for me as I dictated it to her over the phone.)

So, as I face this personal dark and cold morning, I thought about the utility crews out in this snowstorm with the blowing winds and snow that have brought down three limbs in my backyard so far. I hope for their safety--and their quick appearance in my neighborhood. But I also wonder about the commercial and industrial customers out there who face this situation on occasion, too. The cost of a power outage is so much more than some spoiled food and the inconvenience of a cold house. It can be the loss of business, a restaurant closed for a day or more, a school dealing with frozen pipes or a production line ground to a halt.

To make me feel better, why not share with me in the comments section below or by email, at Editor.SmartEnergyPortal@penton.com, stories of your past outages and what you learned from those. What systems do you now have in place to help you be smarter business operators? I promise to read all those messages as soon as I am out of the dark.