Non-Fiction Books:

Soul of the Grid

A Cultural Biography of the California Independent System Operator



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Soul of the Grid by Arthur J O'Donnell

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"I felt like we had failed," said director of grid operations Jim Detmers in a pained voice. "In my mind, I pictured people stranded in elevators. I pictured people stranded in stores and checkout lines. All I could think of was the Inconvenience, and I'm sitting here thinking...thinking, what rock did we not look under to maybe prevent this?" As the focal point of an unprecedented power crisis that has tarnished the Golden State, the California Independent System Operator (California ISO) carries the mixed burden of being a disaster survivor. Established to maintain electrical system reliability for the world's fifth-largest economy, California ISO has been both praised and vilified for its efforts amidst the chaos of blackouts, price volatility, political backlash, and market manipulations by Enron and other ruthless competitors. This book chronicles how the California ISO came to be and what happened during its first five years. More importantly, though, this is the story of the people who make up California ISO and give it an identifiable character and culture--its soul. The result is a very human drama that is otherwise unavailable from the regulatory record or media accounts of California's unparalleled power emergency.
Release date NZ
August 21st, 2003
Country of Publication
United States
Illustrations, black and white
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