No electricity / by kevin murray


I heard a knock upon my front door, yesterday, and it was a representative from the Utility company.  I had seen their truck outside earlier but hadn't thought anything of it, other than routine maintenance.  But no, he stated that he needed to turn off the power to my house (and all the others tied to that transformer) because the power transformer had sprung an oil leak, and therefore power would be going off in another five minutes.  He reminded me to open up my garage door in case I wanted ingress and egress, but I already knew how to yank the emergency release cord on my garage door trolley and therefore I had the capability to open my garage door without the aid of electricity, and believe me, I've had to yank that cord before!


I appreciated the heads up he was so courteous to give me as it gave me time to complete and organize some work on my desktop and when the outage came twenty minutes later I wasn't surprised by that fact. Meanwhile, my computer desktop remained on because of my surge protector/battery backup, but I didn't waste all that much more time completing my tasks at hand and then I put my desktop in "sleep" mode, which is something that I had previously not tested.  Nice to know, that after 90 minutes or so, when power was restored, my desktop didn't need to reboot and the same browser windows I had left open were still there.  Sweet.


But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Without power to the house and no separate electric generator, I now had no internet, no TV, no AC (it's summertime), no fans, and nothing that plugged into an outlet that worked.  Pretty much I was back to pen and paper. Yes, I had my cell phone, so I wasn't completely cut-off from civilized life, but definitely my quality of life had become  impaired.


Electricity is something that we take for granted, but what if rolling blackouts or arbitrary blackouts were to occur on a regular basis.  Your productivity, your lifestyle, would be challenged to the absolute maximum; that is definitely the type of paradigm that I don't want to be a part of. Without electricity, the functionality of my house becomes more akin to shelter and not a whole lot more.


I remember back in California, in 2001, during the Governor Davis' truncated era, when we suffered rolling blackouts because of a mismanaged or manipulated energy crisis.  When you're at work and the power goes out and there isn't any real hope that the power is going to come back on in a few minutes, there isn't much that you can do when you're in the Hi-Tech business except to pack up your briefcase or backpack and head back home.  Without power, you simply don't have a business.  And it follows that without a business, you don't have any income and the downward spiral continues onward from there.


Electricity is a wonderful and necessary thing and while typically losing power during a thunderstorm or other severe weather conditions is an unfortunate inconvenience, losing it for any extended period of time, or even having erratic service has dire consequences that most people don't even contemplate.


Our modern lives are tied to the benefits of electricity and we are ill-able to circumvent it.