Not a power lunch

In fact, it was a powerless one. The radio was on and then it wasn’t. It was time to crank up the Y2K radio, but there was no relevant news to be found. Luckily, there’s a gas stove and only one item to be reset in the event that the power should ever return. The first thoughts were that an excavator had cut through something or that a house-mover hadn’t had enough clearance or that a demolition had gone wrong or that one of the fly-by-night electricians working on non-permitted “improvements” had made a mistake; all these are possibilities around here these days. The great cause for concern was the fridge, only just restocked. A call to the outage number on the utility bill resulted in a transfer to, as always, a mystery number, a good thing in this instance since the automated outage-reporting system seems to offer no live-person option and is therefore of no use to households, like ours, with a rotary telephone. The answerer could or would say nothing about how many others had reported outages, over what area, and for how long it was estimated that it would be until restoration of electricity.There’s evidently no provision for assigning and giving to the caller a transaction number or work-order or report number. Later, someone with a more modern telephone used the automated system and found that the problem was recorded therein. Luckily for the state of my disposition I wasn’t asked this time whether the problem could be a fuse or a circuit-breaker. Even though we enjoy the original pre-WWII wiring here, the circuits are never over-loaded because we don’t have any air-conditioning and we seldom use over 400 kwh in any month, even the hottest ones. The outage lasted for just about an hour, according to those working at home and those who stuck around for lunch a bit longer. Without electric clocks, we wouldn’t know the duration without checking elsewhere. No utility trucks were ever spotted, so the problem could not have been confined to a few households. Before the lunch-hour was over here, the letter-carrier and a meter-reader came along, both besieged all along the street. The letter-carrier could give some notion of what streets were affected and the meter-reader said that this was his first time on this route but was able to name several streets on which people had buttonholed him to ask how soon electricity would return. He had heard that it was affecting a somewhat extensive area south of the river but wasn’t sure whether that was true. We really don’t dare invest in much food at a time these days, fearing that the so-called “brief rolling blackouts” of April will recur and amount to enough hours to spoil food as they did last time for us. If people are told anything on these occasions it’s that the cause was a squirrel, even if it’s the middle of the night, or that it must have been a tree limb. By all means, let’s take care of Samsung and Freescale. Why cry over spoiled milk?

3 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

    It must’ve been a fairly large area. I know it stretched across I-35 to the east and went at least as far south as Ben White since it hit my house as well. The Wife reports it was out for about an hour.

  2. ttrentham (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

    KEYE’s on it, but I think they got the bounding area wrong if it hit your place.

  3. Rantor (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

    It was between 55 and 65 minutes, according to neighbors’ best recollections, starting at just about 12:15. The meter guy said he’d heard it went along Riverside, but he didn’t know how far.

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