Electricity

This morning, while brushing my teeth, our electricity went out. Again. I wonder why Oncore seems to have such trouble keeping our electricity going. It doesn’t help that all the house has is electricity. No gas, or any other options. Just electricity. Thus, a lunch of Ramen noodles was made with the help of a camp stove. 
Last week, I forget which day, the electricity went out due to rolling blackouts. That’s fine, we can handle that. But then, 15 minutes later, the electricity came on and then went off again not 5 minutes later. We headed off to school figuring Oncore knew, since they were running the rolling blackouts. When we got home later that day, we find out, via the neighbor, that the electricity had been out for 7 hours. The neighbor spent several hours trying to reach an actual person, not a recording (we’d only heard recordings for the previous 3 outages). She did, but spend much of the day on the phone trying. Seems they turned our electricity on, something blew and they didn’t know it was still out. Their reporting system didn’t report to them that we had reported an outage. It was quite the ordeal.
Today, we talked to an actual person every time we called. That was nice, but it took them 6 hours to get the electricity back on. Seems when you live outside city limits, don’t be dependent on electricity, or be ready to deal with semi-regular outages.
For those readers who living outside a city, whether true country or merely semi-rural as we are, do you often have power outages? How have you dealt with them? Just endure? Or are you otherwise prepared? I’m trying to think through if we should/ought/can deal with an outage other than candles and a camp stove.
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4 comments

  1. We live in a rural area with a local electricity co-op that seems quick to respond. Our home is wired for a generator in an extreme emergency (ice storm, etc.) and makes it possible to keep the fridge, oven and some lights on. Our heat is electric .. but we have gas heat as well that doesn't require elect. to start. So far in the four years we've lived in our home the power has not gone out very often .. the longest maybe five hours. It's good to have camping equip. for a back up .. we have oil lamps, candles, and battery lanterns. Hey .. I even have a night light that stays plugged in and comes on if the power goes off. My (handicapped) son has to have a night light on at night .. this product has been a life savor!

  2. I'm an American and have been living in Cape Town, South Africa since 1990 with my S African husband. Power cuts and rolling blackouts have been a part of our lives off & on (ha ha) for about the past 5 years. The worst year was 2008. This all has to do with the govt's inefficiency in forward planning for the size of the population (including foreigners/refugees) ie too few power stations, urban migration, little family planning in some sections of the population, and being the first generation living in post-Apartheid society (affects everything esp education). "Eskom" has the monopoly on electricity here and we experience the same thing your neighbour & you have with frustrating phone calls to inanimate voice mails. We have all electricity in the house, but a gas braai (barbeque pronounced "bry" to rhyme with "dry"–Afrikaans word) outside that we can cook on in such times (as long as the gas cylinders have gas!). Always having a stash of candles, candlesticks & matches in various places around the house helps (our kids are 19 & 17, so safety is ok). As do remembering to keep boiled water in flasks (thermoses) every day (saves electricity anyway to keep from re-boiling water every time a cup of tea or coffee etc is needed). Also, keeping batteries charged for lanterns is impt as we've been caught short a few times on that. We have 4 headlamps (small kind that we wear for hiking/camping trips) at our bedside which free up our hands. One learns to develop tolerance and a sense of humour (a bit) on these things…..my daughter's 13th bday party 4 years ago ended in blackness from a power cut, but the girls didn't seem to care. They lit every candle they could find, ate the cake and all jumped in our pool by the light of the moon & stars!

  3. Mrs. Mac and Becky — Thanks so much. I feel better that I've done really all I can do without replacing my electric stove with a wood burning stove, or doing the house so that heat is from wood or somesuch. Perhaps someday, I'll have this, but for now, I'll regularly double check my matches, candles, batteries for flashlights and the fuel can for the camp stove. We, as a couple, are so very technology dependent, its a struggle when the electricity does go out, but its always a good time.Thanks for all your wonderful advice, Ladies, you've been a blessing to me even from the distance that we correspond!

  4. I can empathize! We are currently at 14 hours without power per day. It's called 'load shedding' here. Thankfully, we have a battery back-up and inverter system so we can at least power laptops and a light or two! Surely one doesn't expect outages in the U.S. though, right!?


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