Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 04 April 2016
The Higher Power above Electricity
‘Not only in recent months but previously too, our system and systems around the world, have shut down. It is the behaviour of the network, that is the functioning of the system as a whole, that holds the key to the problem; it is not the repetition of the same defect time and again’
Professor Kumar David – in his Island article - A layman’s guide to power blackouts
Professor Kumar David – in his Island article - A layman’s guide to power blackouts
I felt interested not only because I have problems with the Ceylon Electricity Board – Northern Province (http://austms.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/multicultural-sharing-in-sydney.html) but also because the above claims to be a ‘layman’s guide’.
Professor David states in terms of Technical Administration: ‘Each generator does not service a particular load; rather, the output of all generators is "pooled" into the transmission grid. Individual distribution systems (municipalities, industries, rural regions) tap power from the grid in much the same way as a housing estate taps the water-main and then distributes water to individual housing units. There is one critical difference though; electricity cannot be stored in the grid, therefore there has to be a near instantaneous balance of production and consumption of electric energy.’
To my mind, the resources of each branch in a family, institution, nation are also ‘pooled’ into the Central Government transmission grid known to us through many names and at national level - as the Parliament. The parallels of the above in Government – are Devolution and Unitary Governance respectively. If therefore we are to have a Unitary structure – the pathway between the user and provider needs to be clear at all times. In terms of Northern Province Electricity Suppliers – this was/is NOT the case. They read the meter and issued the bill on the spot but we did not have free access to the Administrators when we felt the pain. Many times – the Chulipuram-Vaddukoddai local branch was left in the care of juniors. If we had had devolution – we would have not even thought of going to Colombo for higher application of the rule but the local rule would have been enforced on us.
In terms of Human Resource Management Professor Kumar David demonstrates his lack of care as follows:
‘CEB engineers are technically sound, but the overall structure of the organisation has not undergone radical rethinking for a long time – maybe not since LECO was spun off (I may be wrong here). Privatisation is no solution but restructuring will be a boost. An open structure with greater transparency and public participation and the creation of advisory committees that include outside experts (even a foreigner or two) which meet say twice a year to review ongoing work and make recommendations will, I believe, strengthen the organisation both in fact and in image.’
The Achilles heel of the Electricity system is referred to by Professor Kumar David as follows: ‘AC systems, excellent for handling large amounts of power, too have their Achilles heel. In normal operation all generators must work at strictly the same frequency, the sinusoidal shape (if you remember it from school) of their voltage waves must all oscillate at the same rate. The waves can, and must, be slightly out of phase (shifted) from each other – see figure - but must maintain a lockstep of frequency during steady operation. All system wide blackouts eventually are the result of synchronism (lockstep operation) being disrupted by big external or internal shocks, causing generators to attempt to run at different frequencies leading to failure of harmonized operation.’
The shock is the arrow that killed Achilles. The Achilles heel is within the system itself. The customer in the Electrical Engineer is her/his Achilles heel. Without this customer – there is no motivational power to complete the application of technical knowledge. An engineer who ‘forgets’ this customer when using her/his knowledge fails the ‘ownership’ test. The shock happens when a customer becomes an insider by doing her/his duty by the system as a whole, which makes the engineer minus the customer - the ‘outsider’ to the service.
The customer who has the ‘supplier’ in her/him completes the picture and represents the Truth. All technical facilities above that level do not qualify as part of the ‘Service’. A customer who has done her/his duty – has the power to shock this part of the system. Using ‘business unit’ structures helps us to reduce wastage in such sophistication.
In Australia for example the migrant who practiced Equal Opportunity values above the level of the highest Administrator - becomes the Achilles heel of the Government. Such migrants have the ‘absolute’ power of global citizens and hence Mr. Howard’s presence during 9/11 attack. It is essential that the citizen completes the picture at her/his level – by becoming the government – bottom up. This often entails losing money and/or status one would otherwise have had by going along with the government/central administration. Such work is heard by the system of Truth – which is above all sciences and answers to all sciences.
Professor David states for example:
[The involvement of politicians in project decision making (these are not in the multi-million but the multi-billion rupee range) has been a curse as it contributes to wrong decisions, wrong sequencing of project options, cost overruns and interference with investigations of system failures (yours faithfully has first-hand experience of one such bigtime mystery in 2009). CEB engineers are technically sound, but the overall structure of the organisation has not undergone radical rethinking for a long time – maybe not since LECO was spun off (I may be wrong here). Privatisation is no solution but restructuring will be a boost. An open structure with greater transparency and public participation and the creation of advisory committees that include outside experts (even a foreigner or two) which meet say twice a year to review ongoing work and make recommendations will, I believe, strengthen the organisation both in fact and in image.]
The above confirms that Professor David himself is lacking in knowledge of Democratic Management – leave alone actual experience. Restructuring CEB on Business Unit basis – so each Unit proves itself to be self-sufficient and becomes the supplier of another internal unit satisfies both requirements – privatization as well as restructuring. But this needs to be without any ‘foreigners’ for ‘foreigners’ often tend to pamper the locals or takeover the ‘service’. Sri Lanka is not yet global for such inclusions.
I believe that like in the case of our former Prime Minister John Howard, I contributed to the blackouts – by completing the picture – bottom-up as a customer who went through the process of addressing the bill that was 4 times the average for that period. The ‘technically sound’ engineer said to me that it was due to the security cameras which had been in place for months. That simple logic was missing – because the engineer took-on the mind of the meter reader instead of the caring customer who used her Truth to workout what ought to have been charged. If the Electrical Engineer could not specifically state why and how the consumption was higher – he had the responsibility to accept the customer’s explanation as ‘right’ and settle the bill at that level. When this is not done – the blackouts would happen to confirm the real status of that complete customer who has been hurt. In my case that was at the Prime Ministerial level here in Australia and Presidential level in Sri Lanka. In both cases they suffered the consequences of my pain.
The Hindu example is Lord Shiva who undertook the labor work required to be done by an old woman. In return Lord Shiva who appeared as a laborer was offered Puttu (Tamil rice dish) . When he did not do the work the guards caned him and the caning returned to the guards and the king.
At physical level we connect through the body. At mental level – we connect through the brain. At soul level – we connect through our Ownership Energy. Included in Electricity is this unseen and often consciously unrecognized component that is identified with only through experience. Excessive knowledge often becomes a block in this passage.