I wrote:

As you see from the outages listed here, outages are caused by things like
> cars whacking into electric power poles, or trees falling on wires. There
> would not be fewer cars whacking into polls just because people use less
> electricity:
>
> http://outagemap.georgiapower.com/external/default.html
>
>
You may not realize that is what this map shows. When you zoom in on the
incidents, you see the details. For example, the one at the top of the map
near Jasper, GA at this moment says:

*Customers Affected:* 6
*Estimated Restoration:* Mar 5, 5:30 PM

A tree has caused a power outage in your area. We apologize for any
inconvenience and we are working to restore power. We will provide updates
as details become available.

They have dispatched a crew with a truck to fix the power for 6 houses in
the middle of nowhere, several miles north of Jasper. Because a tree fell
on the line. Jasper is a town of 3,684 people. I suppose there are ~2,000
houses and businesses within 10 miles of the place. There are lots more
trees out there than there are power company customers.

If everyone in that area consumed little or no power there is no way they
could afford to fix the outage. Suppose every house out in Jasper
contributed 3,000 kWh per year to the grid the way Bob Cook does. The power
company could not stay in business selling that electricity to other
people. Even if the good people of Jasper gave that electricity to the
power company for free, that's 3,000 kWh * 2,000 customers = 6 million
kilowatt hours. If they sold it for 10 cents a kilowatt hour free and
clear, that would bring in $600,000 per year to the power company. Or ~$1
per house per day. You can't run a power company and dispatch trucks or
maintain a grid with that kind of money. You can't even deliver a printed
newspaper to each house for that kind of money, which is why they will not
be delivering newspapers much longer.

- Jed

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