Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brownout Versus Rolling Blackout

My father used to be the director of the public utilities in my hometown, and it is with his jaded eye towards electrical onomastics that I say this:

When the electricity goes away and the lights turn off, it is called a blackout. When the electricity is scheduled to go away for a period of time on purpose in order to reduce system load, it is called a rolling blackout.

What happens if you don't have rolling blackouts? THEN you have brownouts. A brownout is the term used to describe what happens when an electrical system is drawing more power than is being generated. Then, what happens is that every piece of electrical machinery on that system receives only a fraction of the electricity needed to run it properly, and this can damage many electronic components. The avoidance of brownouts is the very reason that rolling blackouts are scheduled.

Okay? It's "rolling blackouts", not "brownouts" that we are experiencing.

Glad we cleared that up.

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