“Let’s change the standard and see if anyone complains.”

This seems like a really bad idea.

A yearlong experiment with the nation’s electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers — and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.

Wow, who thought that was a good idea?

Tweaking the power grid’s frequency is expensive and takes a lot of effort, said Joe McClelland, head of electric reliability for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Is anyone using the grid to keep track of time?” McClelland said. “Let’s see if anyone complains if we eliminate it.”

Hey! I have an idea why don’t we go down to Best Buy and snag some appliances and TEST THEM IN THE LAB FIRST!!!!

So now in addition to voltage fluctuations we have to worry about frequency drift too?

Suspicion dawns…

What a great way to fuck up every appliance in North America and force people to buy new ones.


I may have to go buy stock in APC.

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12 Responses to “Let’s change the standard and see if anyone complains.”

  1. Chris C. says:

    It would be an interesting experiment to see whether the clowns proposing this change would be willing to be personally liable for any adverse consequences of their playing with the grid. I think it is somewhat analagous to a mechanic fiddling with your car’s systems (without telling you) so that when you think you’re going 40, you’re really tooling along at 45 or 50. Or making the gas guage show more than is actually left in your tank.

  2. Phssthpok says:

    An alarm clock or coffee maker would be relatively cheap for them to replace…I’m wondering what they’re going to do when the altered frequency starts frying the $3000 grid-tie inverters necessary for those people hooking their solar panels or windmills up to Net-metering.

  3. Old NFO says:

    Alan, you can bet NONE of them are going to be responsible… Anything that breaks, well, that’s OUR fault…

  4. steelghost says:

    I’m betting they didn’t consult the manufacturers who built all that electrical generation equipment. Everything is specific to the frequency, all the way down to the turbine which has to be built for that system. If those nimrods manage to alter the frequency enough it might not fry everyone appliances because it may just destroy the power plants first. To many PhDs in charge and not enough with time in commercial plants.

  5. Robert says:

    I haven’t read the article yet AND I’m pretty sloshed on a very large gin ‘n tonic, so I’m feeling emminently qualified to comment…wait, what was I saying…? Oh, yeah! Let ’em fry the whole grid; we need to reduce the population and I can finally justify buying all those canned foods and non-grid-tied solar panels. Man, that was hard to type…I gotta stop drinking while surfing the web. Cheers.

  6. Robert says:

    OK, I read the article and I actually do have a degree in electronics. “The federal government provides the official time by telephone and on the Internet.” Oh, yeah, no lag there. Properly set up equipment can watch the radio time signals from NIST and detect the change in time-of-arrival of the signal due to the antenna swaying in the wind. Conclusion: Tune up your sundial, folks; we’re boned.

  7. Jess says:

    They can propose all they want. The legal ramifications and possible costs aren’t worth the experiment.

    It’s a grand idea to save money, but a foolish one when actually analyzed.

  8. Jake says:

    One question they don’t seem to answer is how many electronics items (including the electronics in most modern appliances) are set up based on the currently allowable frequency variation, and won’t work properly with a power frequency outside that range? I know that ‘dirty’ power can sometimes cause computers to glitch and crash already. I also know from working tech support for Dish Network that satellite TV systems can be sensitive to line noise and frequency variations. How much worse is this going to make it?

    How many times are people going to unplug and replug their oven to reset its computer when it locks up because the power went outside the designed parameters, before someone at the warranty center realizes why they’re getting so many calls for the same problem?

    Dumb, dumb idea.

  9. kx59 says:

    The gubmint is mulling over the idea of increasing ethanol in gas from 10% to 15% as well. Those with gray whiskers will recall how many fuel pumps choked to death on sludge from rubber fuel lines when ethanol was introduced in the first place. Get ready for the next round, the 5% increase will do it again.

  10. Walter in Texas says:

    Let’s cut the electricity to DC for the next 90 days and see if anyone complains.

    No need to do anything if they complain, of course. They don’t do anything if we complain.

  11. Pingback: How Does the Power System Work? Part 1 | The Minuteman

  12. Ted N says:

    “Well gee, sure hope this doesn’t fry everything everyone owns, and do a good job of shoving them back into the dark ages. Shoot, then they’d look like the serfs that we want them to be.”

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