Thursday, April 27, 2006

Civil disobedience

What would happen if people all turned on their air conditioners at the same time? How many people would it take to cause conniptions at the electric company?
1000 would cause a demand surge of several megawatts (AC units draw twice as much power for startup as normal running). 100,000 would cause nearly a gigawatt demand surge. Is that kind of surge easy or difficult for a utility to manage? What if they then cycled their AC units on and off like an annoying kid playing with the light switch? Coordinating the timing would be difficult but could be accomplished by cuing from a TV signal. I'm just curious...not advocating that anyone try this :)


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