Problem: 400 lbs. meat, 90 degr heat, power outage 6 hour, ongoin

joyfulguyAugust 16, 2003

When the power went out just after 4 p.m. Thursday, I went to my Member Provincial Parliament's office to give him a piece of my mind (couldn't afford too large a piece). Traffic lights non-functional, traffic tie-up en route, didn't arrive till 4:35. Office still open - fortunately.

On way home, rush-hour traffic tie-up at major intersection, I directed traffic - over half a dozen thanked, waved, etc. - one said, "Get off the street!".

Visited old uncle, bad hip, painful movement, to ensure he was O.K. - had radio, flashlight, candles. Goes to bed before dark, gets up (just) after daylight.

National broadcaster gave wall-to-wall coverage, had province-wide toll-free phone to share info.

One guy cried, about 10:30 p.m.: he had 400 lbs. of meat, didn't specify condition, I had impression it may have been fresh, not frozen - if so, substantial reduction in margin time till it would spoil.

I tried to call, for a while in the dark, power returned about 11:00 at my location.

Continued trying - busy signal. Got ringing about 5 times, but after twenty rings reverted to busy signal.

About 4 a.m. got through, suggested that the guy:

-find a van or pickup,

-load the freezer into the back,

-load the meat into the freezer,

-take off to the nearest rural area,

-visit door-to-door in farming community, asking for someone with a generator. Quite a few farmers have them.

I said that I was sure that he would go less than five miles until he found a farmer who'd be willing to fire up his generator, plug in the freezer and freeze his meat.

Would have been a good idea if they took two vehicles, leaving one and operator to keep using the generator from time to time, until the power outage at home was over.

I've borrowed local generators, travelled in blackout area generating for freezers, fridges., a couple of times in last 30 years or so. Usually leave phone number where I can be reached in case owner needs his machine.

Goofed last night - should have got on phone to try to locate some I could use: called over a couple of dozen this morning, none available.

They say they'll have rolling blackouts for something like a week.

Chief problem is that they've allowed generating capacity to have too little additional capacity. In several interconnected jurisdictions.

And have allowed transmission grid to become outdated - they say that quite a number of power stations were kicked down automatically within a period of a few minutes.

With all our increased sophistication over the last half century - it appears that we haven't learned how (or been willing to spend on non-glamorous issues) to operate a power system well.

If I were a terrorist, I think that would have been a good time to strike, if the plans were all in place.

That having been said - I think that the howl about terrorism around here is largely overblown.

Far more people killed annually through speeding, bad driving. Lousy housing. Drinking and driving. How about smoking? Infant deaths due largely to poverty? Drug overdoses - and we're losing that so-called "war".

How much do we yell about those issues?

Fewer deaths per million miles flown than driven on the highways: safer to fly than drive to the airport - but many fear to fly.

Hoo ever said that hooman beans were rational - let alone consistent?

jes ole joyful

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The problem around here anyway is that no one has any problem at all with using electric power, but when new power plants or power lines are proposed, they go protest them, sue, and do everything else in their power to make sure they can't be built. As a result, the power system is more heavily loaded than ever, yet can't be improved.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2003 at 7:59AM
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On phone-in program Monday noon after the Big Blackout -

One lady said immediately after power came back on - her neighbours cranked up air conditioner.

The went away for weekend.

S - T - U - P - I - D!!!

Several generating stations that went down will take several days to a week or more to bring back online.


Trouble is - I'm preaching to the converted, here.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 1:57PM
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Confession time - I went to the Member of Provincial Parliament's office to apologize for having chewed his rep out so heavily on the day of the blackout.

Then reiterated several questions that need answering about our power problems.

By the way - there's a front ante-room to the office, with a desk and racks holding a lot of materials telling what a wonderful job our government is doing.

It seems that an older lady spends some time there - but there's no phone.

There's a locked door leading to the inner main office - and a sign saying that we should ring for service. The lady who spends some time in the outer office doesn't have a key - she must buzz to be admitted.

Some of the staff inside do, as one went out for coffee and used hers on her return.

I find that astounding.

By the way - they kept me waiting for over half an hour - so when I finally got to apologize - they had some apologizing to do, as well.

Current discussion has it that an election may be called any day now, with the big day to happen about five weeks down the road.

So my M.P.P. is rather busy, these days.

Make sure that your power is always at the ready, all.


P.S. I was commuting to my son's clown site by tall (sailing) ships in Sarnia, beside Port Huron, MI, over the weekend and forgot to replace the fuses on my water heater - so dealt with tepid water, today. Plugged in again at 9 p.m. tonight.

Should heat in 3 hours or so - so I can remove again during the day. Too bad I can't buy power at lower rates during the middle of the night! ('Twould help with computer, also).


    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 10:45PM
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It's getting near the end of summer, but ...

... should you or a friend be faced with a similar problem - my suggested solution should still work.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 11, 2014 at 3:28PM
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buy a hybrid elec water heater. uses 1/2 power of standard elec unit. basically it is a air cooled heat pump for water heating. somewhat pricey. about 1300 or so. if you have no natural gas or do not want to use propane than it is an option. anyone can have a propane tank. why dont you use that? if you are really cheap, you can even unplug the hybrid water heater when not in use.

This post was edited by cavell on Tue, Oct 7, 14 at 10:09

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Meh... the OP dates back 11 years....
advice on it is rather moot.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 11:22AM
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While a power interruption of a few hours isn't of great consequence to people with a freezer ... longer periods can be rather hair-rising.

I've thought that it might be good idea for people where they have power interruptions from time to time to gather a group of, say, four to six or so, to share in buying a generator, possibly of somewhat better quality and capacity than one person would wish to, alone, to move from house to house when the power is out, to keep the food in the freezers intact.

Some people where I visited with a generator wanted me to fire up their furnace, but most have an unbreakable connection to the power box and I was unwilling to risk the possibility of the main switch getting reconnected inadvertently, thus pushing power back out on to a line that the linemen understood to be dead, possibly with drastic consequences. Where codes allow, I think that it would be advisable for people to have a push-and-twist connection between the power box and the furnace.

When the power is down for an extended period, most people are not going to their place of employment, so would be free to move the generator from member's house to member's house during the day and night ... or even to help an outsider, should they so choose.

It would be necessary to have at least one member who had an establishment large enough to store the generator without its being a nuisance.

Such a plan would provide cheap insurance for people with a substantial amount of expensive food in their freezers ... and have you noticed how the price of that food has escalated in recent times ... while the wage increases earned by most ordinary workers have been much more ... meagre?

Does anyone foresee a substantial change in that scenario, any time soon?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 9, 2014 at 7:35PM
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