Power outages in the United States disrupt the flow of society when they happen, largely because of our dependency on electricity. Weather is the most common cause of such outages as 83% of them occur because of weather. Between 2011 and 2021, too, the number of weather-related outages increased every year. There are some things that cities can do to ameliorate the situation.

1. Upgrade the Utility Poles

In most cities, utility poles are aging parts of the infrastructure and are in dire need of an upgrade. The benefits of this process include increasing safety through mitigating pole failure, improving the weatherproofing of utility poles, and maximizing visibility. That means that the poles will be of bright, vibrant colors, well-lit through improved lighting, or both.

2. Speaking of Lighting

Almost four out of every 10 watts a city uses goes toward the lighting of public areas, including streetlights. By installing LED streetlights, cities can reduce that huge chunk of their operating electricity, saving both money and the environment at the same time. One of the best ways to save is to have the lights in public areas stay off until they detect the presence of people, vehicles, or both, switching on when needed and turning back off when not.

3. Focusing on Energy Equity

In short, energy equity occurs when the people of a city have their specific energy needs met without harming other people’s needs. One way to achieve this is to enroll people in energy-saving and cost-saving programs automatically rather than requiring them to sign up. This will reduce energy insecurity, which will, in turn, reduce people defaulting on their energy bills by actually making them affordable. It’s crucial to realize that in a world of ever-increasing population and climate challenges, focusing on demand-side solutions to energy problems is the only way to proceed.

4. The Smart Grid

The Smart Grid is an improvement upon the current electric grid, pardon the pun. The current grid was laid out in the 1890s when demand was much less than it is today. The Smart Grid makes use of two-way digital communication between the provider and its customers. In much the same way as a digitally controlled LED street light can turn on and off as needed based upon the presence of a person or vehicle within range of its sensors, the Smart Grid will react in much the same way to peak demands and changes in electrical consumption.

5. Streamlining the Bureaucracy

The longest word in the German language is Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft, a 79-letter word that means “Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping Electrical Services.” Just typing the name of the association requires strength of will. Similarly, because of the patchwork nature of the old American electrical grid, the various officials and offices that are tasked with overseeing it are hampered by the paper trail necessitated by so many interconnected rule sets. The streamlining of the official entities will simplify many of the processes of creating, delivering, and billing for electricity.

6. Encourage Energy Savings Among the Populace

People can make small sacrifices to reduce their energy usage, such as remembering to turn things off, switching to LED lighting, and adjusting certain settings on their appliances.