How to Keep a City Running During a Blackout

Dr. Jay Apt offers four cost-effective steps for cities to maintain essential services when the next big blackout hits.
September 21, 2012, 6am PDT | Emily Williams
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Major power outages can greatly impact a city's ability to carry out basic functions and services. It would be impossible to predict or avoid blackouts altogether, says Apt, but what cities and agencies like bus companies, hospitals and grocery stores can do is work to ensure a minimal impact on their provision of essential services.

Apt's first suggestion is for companies, agencies and residents to "list, in order of importance, the critical missions that are provided by electric power-and that, if not fulfilled, would have serious consequences." The second step is to highlight the weak links within an agency or group's emergency back-up plan. Additional suggestions include implementing cost-effective technologies to mitigate outages and incentives to induce emergency power-sharing.

It's up to cities, says Apt, to prepare for outages so that businesses and governments can continue to provide for us even when we're off the grid.

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Published on Monday, September 17, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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