Analysis: U.S. Power Grid on Decline

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- America's power grid is like an old car -- getting the job done, even if its performance is slipping -- and experts say only a major overhaul will reverse its decline.

An Associated Press analysis of utility spending and reliability nationwide finds that electric customers are spending 43 percent more than they did in 2002 to build and maintain local electric infrastructure. Since then, power outages have stayed infrequent, but when the lights do go out it now takes longer to get them back on.

University of Minnesota grid security expert Massoud Amin says we're operating the system "closer to the edge." And other experts say the spending-reliability figures suggest the extra money isn't being spent wisely -- or that utilities aren't investing nearly enough to upgrade fragile equipment increasingly threatened by major storms.

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