Well here are a few facts for you:
- The DOE reports that in 2009 the average age of a substation transformer on the U.S. power grid is 42 years -- two years more than their expected life span.
- They also observe that "If Alexander Graham Bell were somehow transported to the 21st century, he would not begin to recognize the components of modern telephony – cell phones, texting, cell towers, PDAs, etc. – while Thomas Edison, one of the grid’s key early architects, would be totally familiar with the grid." Jeez.
And finally, this is the kicker for me: the DSB Energy Task Force 2008 report stated:
Military installations are almost completely dependent on a fragile and vulnerable commercial power grid, placing critical military and Homeland defense missions at an unacceptable risk of extended outage.
Sounds to me like we're long past due for a better approach and infrastructure. For more see this nicely designed, if somewhat fluffy, DOE introduction to the Smart Grid.