Superstorm Sandy was arguably one of the most significant storms in the history of the U.S. power sector. It was not a worst-case scenario. It was not the most expensive. And it was not the deadliest. But a confluence of factors made Sandy into an extraordinary event with a deep and lasting impact on how American utilities think about the future of the electric grid.
Extreme weather is a normal part of doing business in the power sector. Ever since America began putting up poles and wires to electrify the nation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, wind, rain, ice and lightning have been there to knock them down. As this book was being written, severe flooding and tornadoes slammed the Southeast, leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
So if extreme weather planning is already such an integral piece of the power sector, why revisit the story of Sandy?
A combination of size, scope and timing set Sandy apartfrom past events that have caused trouble for the grid. Consequently, in the year and a half since the storm ravaged the East Coast, there’s been a meaningful shift in the way that utilities, regulators and policymakers talk about the electricity system.