Come close together, cats and kitties, and gather ’round, while the Powerman gets his story-telling hat- the one with the fine white brim- slips it on and talks about what’s going down with a happening riff:, with a tip o’ the hat to Lord Buckley for those yet to be hip to the flip, we are not talking bout sound. 60.000 cycles per second 60 hertz or one sixtieth of a second, precisely, exactly, over and over, up and down, positive to negative and back again, round and around. You- over in the corner, the group that seems in tune, go ahead and hit an Ohm- I know that you want to. Now don’t that sound mighty fine, but take it down real low, just a hum, the cats might have to carry this tune ’cause it’s down kinda a low, around 60 cycles or so. Now there’s a Ohm that’s fine to hear and hum that travels, it’s nice and it’s clear, and kitties don’t worry if the tone hunts around, that’s fine, it’s how it works, now I’ll tell you what’s going down.
Back in the day, not so long ago, there were wizards walked the earth mighty and proud. They worked with lightning, electricity we say, with sparks and bolts that could knock you down, pick you up and smack you around and kill a cat if you didn’t know the rules, it wasn’t nothing to play round with now, can you dig it? I knew that you could.
The greatest of these wizards was known as Thomas A, or “The Big E” as he thought of himself in those days, and the lightning to him it was nice and flat- DC he called it- and that was that. Ol’ Thomas A. wanted to build power plant’s all over the place, for all the cats and kitties to use his magic juice for their lively hood. To light the dark and perform their chores, but there was a problem see, DC won’t carry very far, so power plants were needed far and wide, build one on every corner, all over the countryside..
But there soon came a cat with special eyes- he could see things that others couldn’t, imagination beyond normal men, he could look at things in a special way he even went to work for Mr Thomas A. Nikola he was known to the wizards those days, we will call him Uncle Nickky as The Hip Einie did, and he was bound to amaze , he was special cat and a wizard beyond all others, he was known to juggle balls of fire just to amuse himself and didn’t care much for others Yeah, Nickky was an All High Flip Out in Orbit Mother to end All Mothers!. The other wizards didn’t know what to make of Uncle Nickky- he just flipped their wigs with those way-out thoughts of his and they bad rapped the poor cat every step of the way. Can you dig it, I knew that you could.
Well Uncle Nickky didn’t swing the DC way, from positive to negative, or the other way ’round, depending on your thinking, it just didn’t work that way. Uncle Nickky had a theory- AC it was called- irritated the grand master E- but it now makes the world go ’round you see. He liked the rhythm, he liked the sound, 60 cycles per second, that hum that you hear, it wailed so hard that the snakes in the jungle picked up on the lick. Now keep the Ohm going in the background, I know it’s been a while now, but it sounds might fine, tuned the 60 of our cosmic electrical sound. You can hear it on a foggy night if you go near the wires, it’s the tune, it’s the rhythm, it lights mankind’s fire. For some reason, across the pond in the countries of old, they set the tune to 50, they always did seem a bit off, a bit different, didn’t they, maybe this is why, who’s to say?
On the practical side (you knew we had to start to come down) the physics of our electrical system is that “generation always follows load”- those huge smoking beasts that power our lives, follow our load, always. No matter how small, from the little LED that glows alone in the dark, to when you flip on a light switch to brighten a room, or you hear the rumble of that big A/C unit kicking on in the brutal Texas summer to keep you , your dwelling and your cherished ones cool. Some where, some place, on the ERCOT grid, a generator speeds up a little more to supply those needed watts or kilowatts that you are using, and if it didn’t, that 60.000 might droop, just a little to 59.9999. And when you turn the light off restoring the gloom, or the A/C shuts down for a bit, or even that little glowing LED dims in the dark, that generator, or another, slows down exactly that same amount, all to the ticking clock of 60.000 cycles per second. It keeps our clocks on time, it keeps our motors turning, it keeps our civilization pulsating, all to that rhythmic beat of 60.000. Its the tick tock ,tick tock of synchronization that’s necessary for every we thing we rely on, from our traffic lights, the power supplies in our computers, in our TVs, it’s woven its way into the “fabric of our lives”. Cats and Kitties, we all dance to its rhythm even if we don’t know it, that 60.000, can you feel the beat? You can see its flicker in the fluorescent lights if you look for it, or the old computer monitor if you’re bent that way, or if the motor in that old clock in the corner isn’t wound quite right, it loses a second every now and then, but we all keep dancing to that pulsing beat of 60.000 cycles per second.
So what’s the point you ask, why is the 60.0 so important or actually the 60.000? It’s how we keep the electrical system that supplies the juice to keep our stuff running, running. The generators and the wizards at ERCOT ( the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) monitor that clock very closely and if it starts to slow, even a bit, it means that there is more load on the system than the generators are supplying and a special type of fast-responding generator (it’s a gasser) with a governor attached called an AGC (automatic gain control) sees that dip and puts the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and adds the needed juice to get back to 60.000. But wait, some where a load goes off and our pulsing rhythm speeds up a bit and now we are at 60.001 and that won’t do, clocks are running too fast and the generators are putting out to much of that juice, so mister AGC kicks in and takes his foot of the pedal and slows back down. Yep that’s how it works, in a simplistic matter of course, Can you dig it, I knew that you could. There are many mighty generators all with these AGC controls that chase the elusive 60.000 scattered all over this grid of ours in Texas cause were all alone, see we’re not interconnected.. They are always chasing that 60.000 and never quite getting it exactly right- gassers speeding up, slowing down but never quite getting it just right they’re to slow, you see, it takes them 5 maybe 10 minutes to respond, so we have a lot of them in our electrical pond. There are wizards on the grid that tune those little AGC’s trying to get them to guess just right, they get paid for supplying that service in the market at ERCOT (ancillary services it’s called), lots of money to tune that beat and try to keep it right, on the mark, on time, keep the beat, at 60.000.
Generation follows load, its always been that way, as Uncle Nickky set it up an finally this great lick started to spark the spacehead grapevine, and all the space cats were tuning in, and always will, dancing to the tune of the 60.0
So let the Ohm come down, as I hang up my hat and this story’s through, cats and kitties we can ponder the wizards and Uncle Nikky, and those young wizards at ERCOT that keep the tune, and the generators follow the load and it will stay that way
Flip the Bugbird, nevermore!.Or will it, whose to say?
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