Friday, 26 October 2012


When I moved to the country in 2000, I didn't realize how frail the electrical supply to my home would be. Though they were a nuisance, I put up with both power blinks and blackouts. After all, neither lasted that long. The wind storm of October 25, 2008 changed my mind completely. As I ate sandwiches at lunch, the kitchen light went out. I finished eating and tried to call Atco Electric to alert them about the blackout. A recorded announcement reported outages in many areas of the province. The company estimated restoration of power in four hours. Having no power for the computer, I spent the afternoon tidying up my basement. About half past three, my neighbour knocked on the door and asked if my power had gone out. When he heard that it had, he asked if I'd phoned the company. When I said I did, he told me his cell phone battery went dead after ninety minutes of being on hold. I promised I'd get on the blower and find out what was taking them so long to restore power. My wall phone was still working so I dialed the Atco Electric number again. The recording gave me the same old song and dance about power being restored in a few hours and that I was to wait on the line for the first available operator. I gave up after a half hour and went back downstairs. The electricity still hadn't been restored by five o'clock. I was about to call Atco again when an idea struck me. I unplugged the cordless phone's power adapter from it's socket and plugged it into the computer's uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Then I dialed the power company again. This set-up let me work in the basement and stay on hold at the same time. After a half hour, a live operator spoke to me. I told her that I still was without power. She noted it and said somebody would come out to take care of it. Since I had an electric stove, I couldn't cook supper. So I opened a tin of stew and ate that. Then I listened to a battery-powered radio while I waited. By ten-thirty, I became concerned. The house was getting cold from the furnace not being able to run. I phoned Atco again and got the same announcement as before. I hung up after a half hour and hoped somebody would deal with the power. After I had placed extra blankets on the bed and dressed in several layers of long underwear, I heard the furnace start up. After eleven and a half hours, the ordeal was over. I vowed then and there to buy gas appliances which wouldn't fail in a blackout.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had quite an ordeal. I'm thankful our power company is more responsive. At three in the morning one time when it was about twenty below zero, I called because our furnace had quit working, and the thermostat screen was blank. It was about an hour and a half before a technician arrived, but fortunately, all he had to do was put new batteries in the thermostat. Since I purchased an insurance policy for the furnace and other appliances, I didn't have to pay for his service.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
    We Shall Overcome
    How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
    Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver


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