Worlds biggest power failure
Perth, 2nd August 2012
Another one for the record books! All it took was a tripped power transmission line between Agra (home of the famous Taj Mahal) and Unnao in India to trigger a near country wide power failure covering no less than 22 states and leaving more than 620 million (!) people in the dark for several hours. Easily the biggest power failure ever in human life! Possibly due to heat and other industrial power needs, more power then allowed was drawn from the net, tripping the power line and pushing the surrounding suburbs into darkness. News reports suggest that there was no back up structure and the tripping subsequently cascaded further throughout the whole northern part of the country. It show-cases the plight of many countries around the world. While most developed nations are taking power availability in abundance for granted, major parts of the world still have little to no access to power. In India the news reports that more than 300 million people still have no access to power. Often inefficient governments, lack of regulations and wasted energy are part of the reasons. Government figures show that in India about 30% of the energy is “stolen” illegally tapped from the net!
It is also a sign of the fast moving huge economy, with people getting more affluent and hence able to afford more luxuries including power generating products, lighting being one of them! We may not realise it but life without power would be pretty different! For one, you would not be able to read my blog! Social networking, email, skype, all this depends on power, though some appliances and products have back up batteries, these generally last only a short time. Most of our daily life is linked to the use of power, many basics are using power. Street lights providing some safety and security at night, traffic lights (and resulting traffic jams!), the hospitals and public transportation all need lighting to function in general and/or beyond daylight hours.
Its scary when you think of it. As lighting designers we should certainly bare all this in mind and be ever so conscious in our designs that having power is a gift that should be treated with utmost respect and appreciation!
Light Watch 3-116: Images from the net showing the impact of the power failure…