NIGERIA’S PROBLEM WITH ELECTRICITY. “The quality is as poor as the supply: Light bulbs dim like tired, resentful candles. Robust fans slow to a sluggish limp. Air-conditioners bleat and groan and make sounds they were not made to make, their halfhearted cooling leaving the air clammy. In this assault of low voltage, the compressor of an air-conditioner suffers — the compressor is its heart, and it is an expensive heart to replace. Once, my guest room air-conditioner caught fire. The room still bears the scars, the narrow lines between floor tiles smoke-stained black. . . . For succor, I turn to my generator, that large Buddha in a concrete shed near the front gate. It comes awake with a muted confident hum, and the difference in effect is so obvious it briefly startles: Light bulbs become brilliant and air-conditioners crisply cool. The generator is electricity as electricity should be.”

Nigeria has always had terrible electrical distribution — my brother was telling me stories like this 20 years ago. On the other hand, in a major grid-down event it would do much better than the United States, because Nigerians are used to outages, and have generators for pretty much every place that really matters. How do I think the United States is going to do in the future? Well, I put in my own generator. . . . Related thoughts here.