Electricity / by kevin murray

Modern life is full of conveniences that we take for granted, such as electricity.  In my community, little flash outages of just a few seconds seem to occur a little too frequently but they are really a very small inconvenience and just essentially mean the resetting of clocks and before I got my surge/battery backup protector on my computer desktop, a loss of some computer information.  However, from time-to-time there is an actually outage of perhaps up to twelve hours.  Again, that is mainly an inconvenience, and I usually step out of my house to verify that all of the houses in my neighborhood have a power outage as opposed to immediately running to my circuit box which is in the basement.  They say that misery loves company and when it comes to power outages if it's street-wide you kind of are relaxed about it, but if it's just you and it's not your circuit box, then that's a real expensive problem!


Without electricity in your home, you no longer have lights, heat, air-conditioning, fans, internet, cable, or the ability to use any electronic device that uses electricity directly (such as your oven).  Basically the only devices that you will still be able to use are your portable devices that are currently charged.  Whether you are able to use your cell phone or not depends a lot on how much traffic is being generated to your cell tower, whether that tower has electricity and if not, how much batteries backup the cell tower has.  Unfortunately, when we most need to use our cell phones such as in a real emergency, this is the time when they so often fail us.  Consequently, this is a very valid reason to have an actual working house phone, in which a power outage in most every circumstance will not affect its needful operation.


Although power outages can occur for many reasons they are typically more frequent during extreme weather conditions, either the weather is too cold and the ice, for instance, has taken down necessary power lines, or it is too hot and the power grid is over-burdened.  From my perspective, I prefer a power outage during cold weather, mainly because that means perishables will last longer, but more importantly with enough blankets you can sleep in cold weather but in hot weather, without air-conditioning or fans, you can't sleep; and quite frankly one way to persevere during a power outage is to simply go to sleep and hope for better news when you awaken.


For those that are in very poor health, or with little infants, an electricity outage has much more significant consequences.  If your good health depends upon using devices that connect to electricity your health becomes imperiled without electricity.  Additionally, if you are dependent upon city water or well water for your daily needs this water may become compromised or unavailable to you.  The lack of electricity and our taking for granted the reliable availability of electricity is something that we really don't appreciate until it is gone.  Some people are more prepared than others, they have supplies setup for an emergency, and they also have available a portable power generator for just these types of situations.  The rest of us are perhaps too complacent or foolish to prepare for improbable events that have life-changing consequences, perhaps we shouldn't be.