1 EAGLETON NOTES: Power Outage

.

.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Power Outage

We seem to be having more power outages than usual this winter. Forty years ago they were very common and on the rare occasions when gales and snow brought down power lines we could be without for days. The last time I can recall that, though, was in the ’80s one Christmas. It was an ‘interesting’ few days and the linesmen did a fantastic job working up the poles in horrendous conditions. 

The most recent outage that lasted a few hours gave me the opportunity to check my armoury of emergency lighting and heating. I cook by gas and have a gas ‘coal’ fire in the living room and I bought recently an emergency gas room heater. There are LED battery lights in all rooms which come on automatically if the room is dark and someone walks in. I have emergency gas lights and I was given two ‘old fashioned’ paraffin hurricane lamps for Christmas: one of the few occasions one gets a present one actually hopes not to have to use. Well they are in use now. It’s not helped by the fact that the weather which was glorious yesterday is overcast and very dark this morning at 0845 and the outage is over an hour long already.

So life this morning isn’t too bad here and there are plenty of things I could be doing without needing electricity. However the things I would be doing normally all require power and it’s quite good sometimes to step back and realise just how much we depend on it and how much we take it for granted.


David and I decided just before 10am to go into town early and have a proper breakfast at The Woodlands.  We arrived home after noon and the power was still off but only in our township.  Apparently three or four poles had been taken out by a lightning strike. I went over to see Pat and Dave on the other side of the valley and this is what met me:




Somewhere around 2pm the power came back on. Life is returning to normal.

20 comments:

  1. The last time I had a power outage at home was a few years ago. It lasted for maybe 3 or 4 seconds, and I think that one was caused by lightning, too.
    The "worst" power outage I've witnessed was two years ago in Munich. I was on my way to the fair, but of course all trams etc. didn't work. I arrived at my work place 3 hours later than expected, but since everybody was in the same situation that day, nobody complained about me being late for work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very fortunate Meike but then I think urban areas are generally speaking less vulnerable than rural areas.

      Delete
  2. When we lost power a few years back due to Cyclone Yasi it was revealing how much we come to depend on electricity. Like you say with gas cooking you can still carry on. But without it you do need some emergency refrigeration, cooking and lighting. Fortunately we did not need to contend with the cold, but without even a ceiling fan, cooling and ventilation was a challenge. I am much more dependent on the Internet these days, but we still need the electricity to power up the devices if the networks are still up. they say that modern day terrorism will be to attack our infrastructure and systems ~ and I wonder if we would remember or know how to revert to manual systems should it ever happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think, Carol, that you have a very valid point. We are extremely vulnerable nowadays if the infrastructure of any sort is disrupted. If the Internet is attacked then everything can be vulnerable because so much depends upon it.

      Delete
  3. No doubt when living on an island like yours, you have to be prepared for occasional power outages - and you seem to be well equipped, not relying totally on electricity.

    In the small village where I grew up, power outages lasting for hours or half a day were not uncommon in the autumn/winter storms - also usually involving no water. Now living in a bigger town, power outages are rare and when they occur they're fixed rather quickly. (Still a different story for those living in the remote countryside though.) Gas stoves are rare in Sweden except in certain areas in certain towns. I do keep batteries and flashlights in a certain easy-access drawer though, and also know where I have candles and matches. And I still have one or two small radios powered by batteries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Living in New Zealand in an earthquake zone makes one very aware of what can happen and how one should be prepared. Obviously here we are not vulnerable in that way but it is certain;y vulnerable in other ways.

      Delete
  4. We had 10 days with no power after the feb 11 quake. We got water back after three days but relied on our gas stove and barbecue to boil the water and cook. Lucky it was warm but we got a gas heater, solar charger and a generator.....lesson well learned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still shudder at the thought of the earthquake Fiona and I wasn't even directly affected.

      Delete
  5. Let us hope that the new poles last the winter. It's a pain when you are used to mains electricity. I find it a novelty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure, Adrian, that I could easily adapt to your way of life.

      Delete
  6. You are well prepared to survive for a while without power. It looks like they have lots of equipment to make repairs. All I have for when the power goes off is a flash light. Fortunately most of our lines are underground and we get few power outages,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The public utilities are pretty well prepared here Red for most eventualities.

      Delete
  7. "...three or four poles had been taken out by a lightning strike" - Serves them right! They should have stayed in Poland!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well it would have been safer YP.

      Delete
  8. We get two or three outages a year here. Too many tall trees, with too many branches which can fall across the lines and bring them down. And, since very few of our lines are underground (too expensive to do, we are told) that means lots of candles and fire places in use here during the winter. But by golly, we are descendants of sturdy Scandinavian stock, so we manage somehow! Love to you, and all the best for 2015, xoxox DeeDee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DeeDee thank you and all the best for you and your family. Sturdy Scandinavian stock eh? Same as the people of the Hebrides - at least in part and long ago.

      Delete
  9. It always amazes me that these men can not only find the fault, but fix it reasonably quickly. I'm glad you're back on, Graham. Happy new year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frances they are exceptional and they work in all weathers however extreme.

      Delete
  10. Power outage since the 80's at this time of the year? Interesting. I'm glad it's quickly fixed though. :)
    I hope you had a wonderful year. Here's to a more wonderful one this year! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Power outages here are few and far between, but when they do occur there is always the habitual wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially where the internet is concerned. Once the area outage is reported to the hotline, the crews are out quickly to source the fault and restore power and soon we are back on the grid. Some folks have gone with solar energy but that can be quite a costly start up.
    I use a gas cooker and keep battery operated lanterns and a stock of batteries for these outages.
    I don't mind roughing it for a few hours until the power is restored. It's the younger generation that are beside themselves when the power goes out and it's fun to watch them get all antsy and not seem to be able to find their way around in the dark in their own home....smile.

    ReplyDelete