How important is electricity?  Energy Biz gives us a good insight to answering that question.

ELECTRICITY IS THE HEART of the U.S. energy economy. And the numbers say so.

A report by the Manhattan Institute cites this fascinating statistic: In 1950, 20 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product was directly dependent on electricity. By 2008, that number had tripled to 60 percent. Additionally, the report states that over 85 percent of the U.S. energy growth since 1980 was met by electricity.

The primary factor driving today’s consumers to this latest electro-technology is cost. Both gasoline and diesel prices outweigh those of electricity.

Our dependence on electricity is underscored by the recent snowstorm in the northeastern United States that has kept almost 2 million customers in the dark and in the cold for several days now, reminiscent of the 1998 “Ice Storm” that caused millions to lose power for weeks at the height of winter in Eastern Canada and the northeastern US.  The Christian Science Monitor writes about the impact on the electrical grid from the most recent storm here as does the New York Times here.

Experts say the violent weather of the past few years in the Northeast is stressing the 20th century above-ground utility grid as never before, along with the people who depend on it…By Tuesday afternoon, 1.7 million customers in the Northeast remained without service.

Japan is also facing electricity shortages following the Fukushima disaster in March.  The shortage of electricity has led to a campaign to wrap up in warm clothing to save electricity this winter. The Kansai Electric Company is already forecasting that it will have a 9.5 percent power shortage in February.

Kazuko Kojima describes life without electricity at the Energy Bulletin.

Take a look at your lifestyle and ask yourself how much of what you depend to get you through the day is based on a plug in the wall or a battery that must be recharged or bought.  Now imagine no plugs and no batteries.  That would be your life without electricity.

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