It’s easy to overlook how much electricity affects our everyday lives, given how accustomed most people have grown to have reliable and consistent access to electricity for the entirety of their lifespan. However, there’s a reason that charities are so focused on bringing electric power to rural communities all over the globe, and expanding the quality of these services in smaller communities within the United States is a major policy issue.
1. Energy Prices
Your utility bills are also meaningfully affected by how much you take care of your home and your appliances. For example, HVAC systems require maintenance every 15 years to run efficiently, and failing to seal off cracks and crevices in doors and windows can significantly run up your energy bills. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the value of regular home maintenance reflected in your pocketbook.
2. Blackouts and Power Outages
One of the most obvious ways the internet can affect our everyday lives is through the experience of electrical failures like blackouts and power outages. Power outages can be minor and last for a few seconds, or they can last for weeks and even months in the most severe circumstances. There are many reasons for outages, from storms and weather-related occurrences to poor equipment breaking down. The maintenance of electrical substations is also essential to creating reliable electrical service, as they generate, transmit, and eventually distribute the electricity to customers.
3. Safety and Security
On a national scale, our electrical grid is responsible for many systems and much of the technology that keeps us safe and keeps our country running. The grid comprises individual generators, transmission lines, a distribution network, and a consumer base that receives the electric power. Generators can include coal and gas-burning power plants, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, solar panels, and wind turbines. An example of how important the electrical grid’s reliability was can be seen in the aftermath of the historic blackout in August 2003. Thousands of people were admitted to various hospitals due to side effects from the extreme heat, and affected offices and schools were completely evacuated. Technology has improved since then, but constant upkeep and improvement should always be a priority.
4. Disaster Response
Maintaining the ability to generate electricity in the event of an emergency is crucial to responding to natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes that often knock out the power for extended periods of time. Transformers can take time to repair, and new wires aren’t simple to install. One way you can prepare yourself is to have a generator installed and engage in regular maintenance. Even if you never need it, it can provide significant peace of mind to know you have a solution if something were to go wrong.
5. Access to Services
Residential uses of energy account for 40% of total energy use globally. Without a consistent electricity source at home, you’re cut off from things like cable and the internet. If you find your internet service provider has frequent electrical issues, it might be time to switch to a new internet provider with a more reliable service. Low-quality providers may not do proper maintenance on their equipment, which can disrupt your power, including your internet service. Given how many people are working from home due to the ongoing global pandemic, maintaining a connection is more important than ever.
Electricity is everywhere, even if you don’t see it, and the disruption that a lack of access to it causes can have devastating consequences. While not everyone has to become an expert, it’s a good idea to be familiar with at least the basics of how electricity works both in your home and on a broader scale. Being an informed consumer will help you understand how to maintain your home and prepare for any potential issues that can arise from a disaster or some other type of unexpected lack of service. Making more people aware of how essential electricity is to their everyday lives is the best way to bring more attention to the electrical industry.