Having just watched New York City barely make it through a four-day heat wave, and being aware that Con Ed is only by the skin of its teeth able to keep up with air-conditioner/escalator/elevator/refrigerator demands during the summer–and sometimes can't–you have to wonder what will happen when first 5k, then 50k and then who knows how many plug-in hybrids add their loads to this precarious system. I have yet to read any power-industry statement, "No problem, we're ramping up powerplant construction by 80 percent in anticipation of this demand." Instead, all I hear is emergency-this and backup-that, plans to borrow power from Canada and whines that NIMBYs won't allow the construction of nuclear plants. Everybody seems to assume that the world will recharge its hybrids at night "when demand is low." Fact is, that's exactly when a lot of blackouts have occurred: 95-degree day, everybody gets home at six when it's still sweltering and turns on the a/c, the TV, the stereo, the lights… Blackout. How much more likely is that to happen when thousands of hybrids also get plugged in at six? And what about all the hybrid owners who deplete their batteries simply getting to work and then, simultaneously, plugging them in at nine in the morning?
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