Can anyone imagine what it would be like if the banks couldn't cash our checks because the electric grid was down for days? What about the stock market, financial institutions, and the airline reservation systems? What about our smart cars that have chips linked to the internet? And our home security systems and thermostats? What about buying anything online? I remember during 911 when I couldn't get access to my business database for several days. When it finally came back online, the guy told me his office in the Twin Towers was destroyed.
In the intervening twenty years our entire existence and economy has become so intertwined with cloud computing and the need to keep it going, I can't even hazard to guess what would happen if a power shortage bought cloud computing down. The Twin Towers guy said they did daily off site backups, meaning they backed everything up and took it to a safe place off site each day. Now many businesses are backing up their data to Cloud servers, which have redundant backups to other Cloud servers. It would be foolhardy to take chances. We need the variance to be safe, not only protecting our data, but also the many residences who depend on a secure electric grid.
They'll only call the variance for weather calamities or when the whole grid could be brought down due to excessive demand. And even then they have strict environmental measures in place to insure minimum adverse impacts.