Houston is in the midst of the largest power outage repair project in history. After Hurricane Ike passed through, about 2.5 million customers were without electricity. Now I hear that they’re down to half a million customers without power.
Let’s suppose the 80-20 rule applies to the repair effort. This seems reasonable since CenterPoint Energy understandably started with the easiest repairs. So with power restored to 2 million customers, they’ve completed 80% of their task. The 80-20 rule would predict that they have expended 20% of their effort. So if it took 10 days to restore the first 80% of customers, it will take another 40 days before they get to the last customer.
This not meant to be a precise estimate of the work that remains, only back-of-the-napkin speculation. But I do imagine a lot of work remains even though the repairs are in some sense 80% complete. This is not meant as a criticism of the heroic efforts of thousands of repairmen from around the US and Canada. I hope it increases appreciation for their efforts when progress, measured by percentage of customers restored, inevitably slows down.