(with thanks to Jeff) There are important changes to power happening at Yeshivah Shul. For a few days now, it has been running on partial power while they upgrade the switchboard. In shul this Shabbos the lights were not all working, electric clocks were flashing with the wrong time, and there was only air conditioning in one room. Outside, there lay parts of an old switchboard that looks like it should have been replaced years ago.
Power is very important to the running of Yeshivah – if you don’t have power, you can’t get anything done. Equally important is recognizing that sometimes, in the power structure, the system gets old and falls into disrepair.
The power structure of years ago simply may not be able to keep up with what is now needed, or what is needed in the future. Wires become frayed and the connections within the structure unstable, to the point that there is a serious risk of failure. Those who are responsible must look to the future, and act to maintain things so that there is not a fire or an explosion that could be damaging to the entire place. In order to make these changes, it means you have to dismantle parts of the power structure, and even switch parts off for a time, while things are rebuilt and adjusted. The people around understand that it’s often a case of taking a step back to take two steps forward.
They used to run on a single phase system at Yeshivah for many years. The current was so strong that it was sufficient to power the place through years of growth. But after a while, it fell into decline and after it stopped working, they switched to a multi-phase system. It was newer and was even allowed to run in parallel with the old system for a time (purely as a backup). The current system is very tightly integrated and has a unique architecture to ensure it can preserve itself in its current form for as long as possible. It is able to resist any other potential hacks into the power distribution and flow. The problem is that it’s really just another form of the same old technology they have been running there for years – not at all in line with contemporary thinking on how power distribution ought to work.
There has been radical talk from some people about renewables. This new form of energy is more sustainable and efficient. Its open architecture spreads the energy load, and also facilitates effective transmission throughout the whole place. Using it means power from many new sources can be put back onto the grid. If implemented, the whole place would require a lot less power to run, and would run much better for it. Problem is that it’s considered completely incompatible with the current power distribution system, and any transition would be revolutionary rather than evolutionary. There is little hope of such a transition happening in the foreseeable future, unless the current power structure implodes and completely breaks down.
In the meantime, the current set of changes should be complete within just a few days, and we will return to “Situation Normal (All …… Up)”.