FPL has Dirty Power

According to the Wikipedia Entry and according to my broken appliances at any rate we do.

Since moving to this house in September 2006, I have lost 2 alarm clock radios, a table radio, a Desktop Computer, 2 Laptop Computers, 3 Wifi Routers, 2 Cable Modems plus one owned by Comcast, 3 Hard Drives (80GB, 120 GB, and 240GB), a cassette tape deck, 2 stereo tuners, a VCR. I’m sure there were other things that were lost in the general background noise of life.

That may sound normal to someone else living here, but in the 13 years I lived in the City of Philadelphia, I lost zero equipment. None, Nada, Zip, Zero. Sure things would wear out but I can repair most of that sort of thing.

We finally got tired of losing equipment. It got to the point where we’d have a twice weekly “Power Pop” where the power would just cut off inexplicably and then back on in rapid succession. Usually around 2 in the afternoon. If there were a storm of any strength, my power would do all sorts of things like dim, brighten, turn off, or strobe. It was like being in a disco or club.

Our final solution to the FPL Dirty Power Problem was to get APC Power Conditioners. APC H10 and APC H15 specifically. They weigh quite a lot, have a lot of heat sinks, capacitors, and blinky lights to entertain the passers by. My house at night has a wonderful eerie blue glow as a result of the things. Those entertaining lights show me just how bad the power is in this city. During a Thunderstorm, the Over Voltage light comes on regularly telling me that instead of a nice 120v, I get 150V Plus. I can be here listening to music and hear a relay SNAP! and the music may or may not get cut off because I will still get a few seconds of power as the capacitors drain into the equipment filtering all the spikes.

I do have to wonder how many pieces of equipment on a daily basis are lost in this area every time the daily thunderstorms fire up and march across the land making mosquitoes and watering the land.

The real solution would be to weather proof the power lines and bury them under the swales of the streets instead of having them strung across the landscape waiting for a flying coconut to hit them in a Tropical Storm. FPL has a reputation of saying they’re trying to keep up with the weather and have a creaky infrastructure as a result of the tropical storms, but if other parts of the country and other utilities made this step, I have to question whether its just a bad decision on the level of their Executive Managers to keep the profits higher and they’ll just muddle through so they don’t have to take the hit on their bonuses.

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