Hurricane season in the Atlantic starts this coming Sunday — a span of year that often proves as busy for electric utilities (and electrical equipment) as it does for weathermen. Government forecasters are predicting a more active-than-usual hurricane season, with as many as 9 hurricanes, half of which could be major (Category 3, 4, or 5). Of course, certain groups will claim that this is a result of global warming. They probably didn't see the recent report (did you?) by federal research meteorologist Tom Knutson. While Knutson does see global climate changes, his computer models suggest that if the climate is warming, fewer hurricanes can be expected.
Of course, with the arrival of another hurricane season coastal states are encouraging residents to stock up on supplies that will keep them out of the dark. Virginia, for example, is offering a state sales tax holiday through May 31 to encourage purchases of flashlights, lanterns, batteries, portable generators, etc. A new hurricane season is also a reminder of our need for a modernized electrical grid that can manage electrical demand and damage to the system more effectively. What was once just a pipe dream — of interoperable systems and advanced monitors and storage capabilities — is moving closer to reality, as NEMA and others work closely with NIST laying the foundation for just such a "Smart Grid."