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Living in the future: power outages

The power hardly ever goes out here in Wales, which is surprising given how remote the town is and the fact that we also have above-ground power lines. And when it does go out, it usually snaps back on within a minute or so.

It's stormy out tonight. The lights flickered and went off some 15-20 minutes ago. They came back on a few seconds later, then went out for good.

I finished writing and editing the piece I was working on at the time, then Googled and clicked my way over to the National Grid website. Ah, yes, there's the link for Storm Central. First I checked to see if they were reporting any outages in my area. Nope. Okay, so I reported my outage. The website confirmed my name and service location address, and asked a couple of questions. As far as I can tell in the dark, the power lines are still up. I have no idea if my neighbors have also lost power; their lights are usually out this time of night. Fortunately, they had a "don't know" ticky box along with the yes and no options on that one.

There are some noises I'm not going outside to investigate. Deer in the yard, maybe, or branches breaking and falling. Yes, I definitely just heard a branch crack, then fall through a fair bit of brush on its way to the ground. It's weird, as there's a definite lull in the storm.

The UPS still has a good bunch of power to keep my cable modem and router connected, and it's still powering my laptop, too. Huh...I didn't remember having the laptop plugged in there. It has battery power to carry it through temporary power outages, and is pretty good at regulating spikes and such, too, even without the usual surge protector power strips that everything in my office is plugged into.

The power's been down for a good half hour now. The only thing I'm doing differently right now is writing this post rather than turning my attention to the next project on my To Do list. And that just seems...weird.

Fortunately, I remembered where the wind-up flashlight was sitting. The laptop illuminates my office just fine for the sort of work I'm doing tonight, but I'll want the flashlight when I head upstairs to bed. I think I'll do that soon.

The National Grid website now shows my outage. Alas, there's no estimated time of service restoration yet. Their phone line yields an "all circuits are busy" message, so I'm apparently not the only one up late at night and calling in. Here's hoping the electricity is back by morning.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
batwrangler
Dec. 12th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
I amazed that you have the Internet without having electricity (other than your battery back-up).
gerisullivan
Dec. 12th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
Yeah; me, too. The whole notion that I can report a power outage online without having to leave my desk to do it...while the power outage is occurring is utterly stfnal to me, even though once before I used the net during a power outage to find the phone number I needed to call to report an outage. I don't remember them having online reporting then.

I love living in the future.
randy_byers
Dec. 12th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, that is pretty cool. Hope you have your power back now. Does power effect whether you can heat the house or not?
gerisullivan
Dec. 12th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
No power = no heat. It's an oil-fueled boiler, but the ignition and pump are electricity-dependent.

Fortunately, electricity was restored 13-14 hours after it went out and the house is warming up quite nicely now.
maruad
Dec. 12th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
Very cool... though I hope the power will be on soon.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 12th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
Power Outages
Snow, Ice, Wind Storms, We’ve seen the after-effects, entire communities without power!

Here are some tips on how to safely restore power due to unexpected power outages and safely use emergency generators.

How to Choose the Right Emergency Electric Generator
http://www.mainpowerconnect.com/static3/howto.asp

How to Safely Operate a Portable Generator and Transfer Switch
http://www.mainpowerconnect.com/static3/index.asp

Generator Safety Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.mainpowerconnect.com/static3/faq.asp
gerisullivan
Dec. 12th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Power Outages
While I would have welcomed this message being signed with a name down at the bottom, I thank you kindly for the informative links. This was a well-crafted, well-targeted message. To my eyes, it looks like an appropriate use of LiveJournal commenting by a commercial enterprise, and I congratulate you for navigating the tricky waters of social media in a useful way. Much appreciated!
debgeisler
Dec. 12th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
Let us know if the lights don't come back on and you need somewhere warm (with power) to hang. :-)
gerisullivan
Dec. 12th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
Many thanks! Much appreciated, as always.

I'm very glad I don't need to take you up on your kind offer...this time around, anyway.

The sock monkey swing on a star pjs helped keep me nice and warm through the night without heat. They're very comfy as well as being cute, cute, cute.
caindog
Dec. 12th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
They're now saying some folks may not have power back until Monday and Massachusetts has deployed 500 members of the National Guard(!) to aid in recovery efforts.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081212/us_nm/us_utilities_newengland_outages
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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