Thursday, March 9, 2017

Online and electricity

Southeast Michigan was hit by a windstorm yesterday, supposedly winds hit hurricane strength. The local electric companies said something like 900,000 were without power due to downed power lines and poles. They are saying this is the worst power outage on record.

As one who lived through the massive outage in August 2003 I disagree.

Perhaps the power companies mean it is the most complicated? The 2003 event was a small number of very important things that went wrong and a small number of things that needed to be fixed. This time a very large number of things need to be fixed.

The outage included my house. I had lunch with my friend and debate partner. When I returned home after 3:00 the electricity was out. Not a big deal, other than not being able to spend time on my computer. I left at 4:30 for my evening at the Ruth Ellis Center (they didn’t lose electricity). I was back home after 9:30 to a couple hours in the dark. I pulled out my stash of candles and read by candlelight. I was in bed a bit early and did not read as I usually do.

I awoke at 2:30 to my bedside clock flashing. I fiddled with it enough to make it stop flashing. At 6:30 my phone rang. I let it go to the answering machine (nobody has a reason to call that early). It was the electric company calling with an update, saying if I had been given an estimated time for restored power it would probably be delayed. Another update call came at 4:30 this afternoon, saying repairs would go on into the weekend. News reports this evening say it may be Monday before the last home has power.

I fared pretty well.

I wanted to call the electric company to report the outage, not because I thought they didn’t know (my whole street was out), but so that I might get an estimated restoration time and could plan accordingly. But I didn’t have the phone number. The phone book now delivered to my door listed a couple suburban offices for the electric company, neither of which answered the phone. I get online bills so couldn’t look at one for a phone number. I had to wait for the power to come on before finding the phone number, which I wrote down for some future time.

Having access to everything online means one must have electricity to access everything.

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