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The green rush is in full swing. But like overzealous <a href="http://www.thefreedictionary.com/forty-niner" target="new">forty-niners</a> soiling themselves over a chunk of <a href=" http://www.galleries.com/minerals/sulfides/pyrite/pyrite.htm" target="new">pyrite</a>, companies are discovering there's a lot of fool's green mixed in with the good stuff.

Cora Nucci

January 17, 2008

1 Min Read

The green rush is in full swing. But like overzealous forty-niners soiling themselves over a chunk of pyrite, companies are discovering there's a lot of fool's green mixed in with the good stuff.In their haste to replace IT and telecom equipment with new, eco-friendlier technologies, companies are finding themselves face to face with higher equipment costs, marginal energy savings, dubious profitability, and worse.

AT&T is in this last category. A series of equipment fires sparked by explosions of (green) backup batteries in its U-verse network cabinets culminated in a Christmas 2007 explosion in Wisconsin. The company is now replacing 17,000 lithium-metal-polymer batteries. It isn't clear what the problem was, or whether it was directly linked to a flaw in lithium-metal-polymer technology, to a design error, to a manufacturing glitch, or something else. But once deemed safe by independent experts, the batteries "have failed at least four times now," reports LightReading. The batteries were manufactured by a Canadian company called Avestor, which, unfortunately for AT&T, folded in October of 2006 and isn't around to help figure out what went wrong. "It's no small task to change out the batteries in thousands of remote cabinets, especially when many of them are already powered up and handling working U-verse subscribers. It looks like a multimillion-dollar job," industry analyst Kermit Ross told LightReading. Going green is an admirable goal. So is cutting costs. So is investing in new technologies. But the life-lesson cherished by cynics everywhere bears repeating: Behind every good intention lurks an unintended, unfavorable consequence.

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