Monday, August 31

That's when the lights went out....

I'm seriously considering investing in some solar panels! Seriously, our power goes out once or twice a year and it's never been due to the weather. People driving their vehicles into electric poles and knocking them down is usually what happens. Here's what occurred this time.

It rained on and off all day Friday (and most of last week too). Somewhere around 5 o'clock in the afternoon the lights blinked off and on. I breathed a sigh of relief. An hour later, they went out and stayed out. Crap! I called in the power outage to AEP. The operator I reached (shock! a real person!) claims I was the first to call in the problem. After what I've heard, I'm not so sure about that.

I went outside to see if anything was visible. Several neighbors were gathered by the street looking west. About half a block down there was a huge tree down across the road. It must have taken the power lines out. No storm, no wind, just light rain. What's up with that? (Though I don't know what's up with the fact that two large trees have fallen recently in this area during dry, windless conditions. Both happened as motorcycles passed by. One man was killed, the other just injured.)

Click picture to see the tree down from a local TV channel's website.

Hubby was working late. I called to let him know that the power was out. He wasn't coming home anytime soon because there were major computer problems at work that had to be fixed before classes started on Monday (today). Sigh...

Living out from the city, we have a well and septic system. When there is no power, there is no water. (Not even to flush the toilet.) My stomach was telling me it was past dinner time and there was nothing ready to eat. (I don't buy much in prepared foods due to allergies, preservatives, sodium content, etc. in it.) I had no water for cooking or cleaning up. Couldn't open the refrigerator (and risk having everything spoil if the power was out for too long). Couldn't get the car out of the garage to go somewhere to get something. (I can't reach the release you have to pull to be able to open the garage door when the power is out. It would not be safe to try this standing on a ladder.) I live several miles from the nearest grocery store or restaurant. Suffice it to say I was not a happy camper.

I lit some candles when it got dark. My cats were wondering what was going on. I started knitting a sock by candlelight more by feel than actually being able to see the stitches. (I had to fix a few stitches I split/dropped the next day.)

I was considering eating dry cornflakes by the time hubby finally made it home after 10 pm. He was starved too since he hadn't had time to eat either. We went out to get something to eat before everything closed up for the night. When we got back, I held a flashlight to light the front door while hubby unlocked it so we could go inside. (It really makes you appreciate having power when it's off for awhile.)

The power finally came back on a little after 1:00 am.

On Saturday, a
neighbor south of me complained that his cable TV was out on Friday night. I didn't have anything sympathy for him. Another neighbor filled me in on what happened on Friday night. None of this information was aired on the local TV news. What follows sounds like a comedy routine. I'm not laughing.

1) The tree that fell had been reported to AEP and the county a year and a half ago that it was rotten and in danger of falling. Nothing was done. It fell and luckily no one was hurt.

2) The county police called in V.E.S.T to close the road and wasted no time getting out of the area.

3) The fire department came and stayed to make sure the electric line didn't start a fire.

4) The highway department arrived to clear the tree from the road. They waited for AEP to get the wires out of the tree before they would clear the tree away.

4) AEP wouldn't touch the wires because the wires were in the tree. It was the tree trimming company's job to remove the wires from the tree.

5) The Comcast cable guys were sitting and waiting for everyone else to get done so they could repair the cable. So was the phone company.

All these people and resources and it still took 8 hours to fix this....WOW!!

Yesterday, I received another interesting piece of the puzzle from my next door neighbor. Our power could have been on all Friday night. What???!!

AEP shut off all power about 6:30 pm to over 1500 people in the area. Why?

The last time there was a long power outage in my area, many people got tired of waiting for the power to come back on. (I can sympathize. It was during cold weather. All night with no heat makes you want heat, lights, and to try to save the contents of your refrigerator and freezer.) People bought generators and hooked them up incorrectly. Yikes! Twelve houses had to be totally rewired. As usual, everyone paid the price due to the actions of a few.

Please, if you are going to use a generator, get it hooked up correctly and safely by a professional. If you don't, when the power comes back on, it can back feed from the incorrectly hooked up generator through the power lines; kill any electric workers who are working on the lines; blow up the generator; fill your house with toxic fumes (if not set up outside); blow out the wiring in your house; or start a fire. None of these is something you want to have happen.


Sara said...

We lost power for five days after Hurricane Ike hit Ohio. I didn't know that about the generator. We just plugged in the freezer and fridge to it. Bummer about your outage and it does sound like a comedy routine.

Little Ol' Liz said...

Would you hate me for saying the longest our power has been out in many years in shorter than the distance between two heartbeats?

You should move here! Colorado is beautiful, and we have nice weather (not just snow). We have nice places to live and yarn stores. We like knitters.

Barbara Bradford said...

It sounds like you had a very rough weekend. We live in Tornado Alley, though lightning always seems to be the culprit when our power goes out. I think its because of the tall trees. Anyway I keep kerosene lamps in the ready.

Anita O said...

Oh wow, I didn't hear anything about that. Why doesn't the city/county take care of these things? It makes me angry that this could have been prevented. Thank goodness no one got hurt this time! The red tape around here is ridiculous!