Poor Processes

A Crime In Two Parts: Consumers vs AEP

The 2021 winter storm in Texas has led to extraordinary problems and also extraordinary outrage.  The human side of the problem is actually a crime in two parts.  One involves production and state-wide operational management (i.e. ERCOT).  The other involves distribution of any available electricity at the local level by the local utility/retailer (whom, incidentally, ERCOT is quick to go way out of their way to subtly and pre-emptively throw under the bus).  For us, that means AEP Texas.

AEP Texas deserves to be hit immediately by a class-action lawsuit and wiped out of existence for all time. 

I suspect ERCOT officials will actually be called as witnesses to condemn AEP Texas in this lawsuit.

So there is no confusion, if space aliens came down to Earth and smashed the Texas power grid, such that even 5 watts of energy were still left, AEP Texas had better be up all night figuring out how to split that 5 watts evenly among Texas consumers.

As it happened, many consumers in Texas (living in areas where there were zero downed power lines) were left wondering, contemplating, and also desperately praying for when this fabled “rotating” and “rolling” might actually start.  To their credit, AEP Texas exceeded even their own previous boundaries, delivering a remarkable moonshot by providing continuous power to some consumers during this historic power failure, simply by playing the role of judge, jury, and executioner in determining which other consumers would play the role of permanent whipping boy.  In doing so, they effectively guaranteed an uninterruptable supply of power to the newest Texas lottery winners.

Puns abound: Consumers should “just chill”.  Were you “frozen out” by AEP during this winter storm?  Perhaps the best and most hopeful pun of all is that process servers should serve up a “cold one” to AEP’s top brass.  God willing, this will occur immediately, and I would be willing to cut to the very front of the line to sign on to this lawsuit.

Finally, there’s a silver lining in some clouds, and I did happen to scrape together a nominal amount of useful information during this catastrophe.  Apparently our old (and thankfully broken) generator was something of a poison-pill-trojan-horse-monstrosity for any electronics in our house.  By default, generators create “dirty” electricity that’s vastly more chaotic than the clean sine wave electricity coming off the power lines.

It looks like the best generators are the ones that have a dual-fuel option, and also provide low THD (i.e. a relatively clean sine wave), and this narrows down the product selection greatly.

The following two dual-fuel generators are supposed to be back in stock this March: