Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the Dark

A week ago this morning, I was halfway through my shower when the bathroom was suddenly plunged into darkness.  The vent fan stopped.  The only sound was the running water on my back and swirling down the drain.  "S -- t!" as they say.  I was not in the mood to shower in the dark, so still dripping water and soap, I turned off the water, grabbed a towel to lay on the floor so I wouldn't slip and fall, and grabbed another towel to wrap around me.  I could see faint light under the door so I knew where the door was.  I rushed out to the kitchen, grabbed my new, large flashlight, and returned to the bathroom to complete my shower by the light of the flashlight.

If you haven't experienced a power outage, ever, you haven't lived.  They hit at the most inconvenient times, too.  I prefer an outage during the day, especially in the morning, so there are many hours of daylight left for the repairmen to work.  I have yet to find the perfect source of light during a power outage.  Candles make me nervous and I cannot leave them "on."  Several years ago, I found some cool, half-moon lights.  They work well, but they guzzle batteries like the local drunk guzzles cheap wine.  I bought a large flashlight last summer during the 87-hour-power outage and I really like its light -- powerful, covers a large area, and great for reading.  But geez, why does the power have to go out anyway?  And it seemed like my neighborhood had had more than its share this year.

On a whim, I found the local power company's Facebook page.  Not really expecting any response, I posted on their page, asking why my neighborhood had had so many power outages this year.  Less than an hour later, someone replied.  Wow.  The replier asked me to send my location so that he/she could research the issue.  So I did.  Later that day, I received a thorough response:

"...the one this morning was caused by animal contact to the transformer. Two of the outages this year were due to trees and one was due to a cable failure. We also show a momentary outage with no cause in June. We understand how important electricity is to the life's (sic) of our customers and work hard to maintain our system to continuously provide that power. However, there are times such as in this case where circumstances are beyond our control (trees & animals) and in these situations we work hard to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. We also appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers. We hope this information helps. Have a great day!"

It really helped to know the cause of the power outage, and that it was out of anyone's control.  I was very impressed.  The power company, at least, truly uses its Facebook page to communicate with its customers.   I suppose the next order of business is to figure out how to get rid of the squirrels in the neighborhood.  There are hundreds of them.  On any given day, I can sit in my living room and watch a group of 3 or 4 squirrels playing in the trees outside my windows.  One of them is an albino.  They're fun to watch, but they can be such a nuisance.  I much prefer chipmunks.

As for the trees, our trees are already under attack by the Emerald Ash Borer, Dutch Elm Disease, and god knows what else.  Storms like to rip them up by the roots with their wind.  I don't believe we need to get rid of the trees, just trim them so they don't cause problems with the power lines.

I wonder...will there ever come a time when the power grid infrastructure will be completely underground?  Or does it really need to be above ground?  

Something to think about.... 

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