Scott Miles, a professor of environmental studies at Western Washington University, has been awarded a $32,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impacts and reactions to the power outage related to Hurricane Isaac, which struck Louisiana on Aug. 29.
Miles has completed field work for the grant, but the rest of the work will be done over the next year.
The hurricane resulted in loss of power to some customers in at least 24 parishes. For New Orleans, the size of the power outage caused by the hurricane is second only to Hurricane Katrina. The power outage and restoration process led to broad, vocal criticism of the two major private power companies serving Louisiana from the public and government officials.
The goal of Miles' project is to understand how power restoration speed, power utility actions, and other factors influence the real and perceived impacts to customers, as well as reactions of the public and government officials. In other words, are public and government criticisms of power restoration speed rooted in measurable impacts to customers with increasing outage times?