Companies will do some pretty crazy things to pull their feet out of the fire. Especially if they face a large fine. Microsoft’s desire to avoid a fine combined with a power company’s strict electricity use rules resulted in the software company deliberately wasting millions of watts of power, according to the New York Times.
Microsoft’s Quincy data center houses Bing, Hotmail and other cloud-based servers. They had an agreement in place with a Washington state utility which contained clauses that imposed penalties for under-consumption of electricity.
A $210,000 fine was levied last year, because the facility was well below its power-use target and that prompted Microsoft to deliberately waste $70,000 worth of electricity in three days “in a commercially unproductive manner”. That according to its own documents. The utility board reduced the amend to $60k, but this makes Microsoft look bad. Remember they pledged to become carbon neutral by this summer. Clearly that’s not going well.
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