I was nestled in my recliner watching the news last week around 10 p.m. with my legs elevated with the chair’s electric controls. After a busy day it was so good to be home to relax from the day’s busy newspaper schedule.
My wife Gerri was nested in her recliner next to me but didn’t have her legs elevated. Suddenly, the electricity shuts off and we were plunged into complete darkness. My legs are up in the air and I’m a captive in the chair. Gerri was able to arise and go to the nearby kitchen where we have a flashlight over the fridge.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to extract myself from the chair without bending or destroying the electrical power footstool. I had bent the footstool on my last chair, it never worked properly, leading to the recent purchase of a new chair.
What to do? My wife went to bed taking the flashlight with her leaving me basking in the living room darkness. Of course, the TV was off, and I decided to just be patient until the electricity would hopefully flow once again.
During the darkness I reminisced about my life in my hometown of Craig decades ago working with civic leaders to attract and construct four massive coal generation stations under a Tri-State banner. CEO John Bugas, headquartered in Montrose, was the mastermind of the massive generation project that ultimately supplied electricity to Public Service of Colorado and the Arizona based Salt River Project through a massive electric grid system.
The plants used large amounts of water from the Yampa River for cooling towers for the electric generators burning tons of coal daily to produce electricity for millions of homes across the West.
These power plants produced hundreds of good jobs along with the strip and mining coal operations. Local high school graduates found career job opportunities in the mining and plant operations. The county tax base exploded with new sources of income and a new railroad spur line was extended to deliver coal to the power plants and connect to the Denver and Rio Grande rail line to Denver. The coal trains ran on schedule through the Moffat Tunnel, and the small railroad town of Rollinsville, continuing onto Gilpin County, and to the Denver and Pueblo power plants. The nuclear PSC plant north of Denver had a melt down and was permanently closed. Coal generation was king!
After the first plant started operations in Craig, I came out of my house early in the morning and there was a very light white dust on my Jeep Wagoneer. The plant was located several miles South of Craig, and the wind blew from that direction. At that time there wasn’t any air cleaning equipment on the billowing smokestacks belching out black smoke. I thought then, and still do today, that that was the cost of progress, jobs, and supplying electricity to the grid system that was so vital for our lifestyle. The environmental concerns slowly went away with air pollution testing in nearby mountains and equipment to clean the air emissions.
The four power plants are scheduled to start closing in 2025 and will be phased out completely by 2030 or sooner. Green energy is supposedly going to replace these plants with solar and wind technology. All I can say to that is “good luck.”
So, I’m sitting in the dark thinking to myself, is this going to be the future? Maybe we should learn from the Mormons and stock up on food supplies that can last a year. The LDS folks do that, and it is smart.
My wonderful neighbor Brian came over to the house Sunday bringing his ballot to talk about the election. He related that his electric chair captured him as well and being a spry pickleball player he was able to climb over the arm rest and escape his chair.
The lights came back on after an hour and I went to bed. I hope that I wasn’t having a nightmare about the future of electricity and where the source of energy is going to arise from in the future.
I may have to get rid of this new chair.