NEARLY A WEEK after the Great October Snowstorm, thousands were still without power yesterday. Many blame the utilities for delays in restoring the juice, while the utilities argue that trees in full leaf caused unusually high damage.
The real problem, however, is the failure of the utilities to implement the maintenance and system upgrades that would have limited the damage in the first place. That failure includes insufficient preventive maintenance such as trimming branches and replacing old utility poles. It also includes failure to upgrade the grid to be more resilient so that local outages don’t cascade into massive failures like the great Northeast blackout of 2003.
As the U.S. and Europe teeter on the edge of a devastating double-dip recession, India’s economic boom—once considered a bright spot in an otherwise bleak global financial landscape—is also showing signs of weakness.
The International Monetary Fund recently cut its growth projection for India, warning that the country was perilously close to double-digit inflation. (In the past fiscal year, India’s economy grew 8.5%; before the financial crisis, its growth exceeded 9% for three straight years.) The IMF cited “a drag from renewed global uncertainty” as the main reason for the revision, but that is letting India off easy.