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12 March 2008 @ 09:06 am
First fences down, now power cuts! Oh noes, weather! ;) Power went off at ~3:30pm, I left it a while before I phoned in to report it as it might've just come back. Tried to see if the neighbours had power but both sides seemed to be away - wouldn't've helped anyway, it turned out, as later on the new neighbours were in so I popped over & they had power, but hadn't had power for a few hours the night before (when we'd had a glitch but it'd stayed on). Looking up & down the street a little once it was dark there were a few houses scattered about with no power & one street light was off, but it didn't seem to be both joined houses ever. I wonder how they decide which houses to power off which circuit (whatever it is?)? Maybe the idea is that if one goes out then you can go round to your neighbour & they'll have heat & cooking ability? Not that anyone on the street really talks to anyone else (after 6 years we're on wave-in-the-street-and-say-hi terms with the next-door neighbour we're not joined on to ... ).

Anyway, reported it, nice phone staff they have. (Kind of the opposite of BT where the phone staff were obstructive & in some cases downright rude, but the engineers were great.) She talked me through a couple of checks that it was not an internal fault (apparently one should switch all the trip switches off, wait a couple of seconds & switch them back on, sometimes that resets it if it's an internal fault), then said they'd get an engineer out - might be 3-4 hours or more, but if I called back in 2 hours then they could give me a better estimate. Couple of hours later, van with flashy lights parked up a bit down the street. Engineers were less good with the customer service side of things - no attempt to contact people (despite me having been told they'd need access to the house - they didn't as it turned out) and when I popped out to ask how long it'd take to fix they seemed surprised I cared & told me it'd be 20 minutes but they were doing the paperwork first! It did come back on by 7:30pm so all was well :) And got a call from the phone staff shortly after to check my power was on & to apologise for the inconvenience.

So, that was yesterday's excitement! It's astonishing how quiet the house is when everything's powered off - we very rarely switch the pcs off, but even when we do obviously the fridge is still going. I sat & read a book for most of the time, by torchlight later as it got too dark to see - we're not that well prepared for the power going off, but we do have torches and some candles. And it turns out that the ignition on the gas fire is mechanical rather than electrical, so we would have had heat had we actually needed it - but it was mild enough that it wasn't necessary. Food would've been the problem, I don't think I've anything in the house that's a decent meal without needing cooked, but we're in a town so takeaway & resturants are an option (and I suspect if the entirety of Ipswich is without power for a significant length of time then there're likely some much bigger problems).

Thankfully all the electronics appear to've survived unharmed, and I'd been just about to go do a couple of chores so I'd saved all the things I'd been working on just 5 minutes before it powered down!
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Robdreema on March 12th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
heh, we have something similar in the office at work. For some reason, they've put the building on two different circuits from the main supply, so if there's a problem with the mains, half the building can go off, but the other half stays up. Over the last couple of months we've had both phases go dolally, so we've had lights but no pcs, or pcs but no lights, and it's been a mad scramble to find the long extension leads so we can keep the UPS's going till power is restored.
Garygingerboy on March 12th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
The mains supply reaching your street will be "three phase", with each home being supplied from one of the phases in turn. So if it was just one phase affected then you get only one house in three losing power. I can't explain why they use 3-phase, but I just know that's what there will be :-)
Robdreema on March 12th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC)
yeah, that kinda makes sense of what the sparky was mumbling when he was doing the electrical testing a while back...
Margaretpling on March 12th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
How odd. But yeah, that makes sense of which houses looked dead/alive last night :)
Ceci n'est pas une viemarble on March 12th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
I was going to be all jealous about how nice a gas fire must be to have, to sit around in cold winter months, but then I realised: I have one too! Yay for gas fires :)
Margaretpling on March 12th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)

We actually very rarely use ours - only if we've been away long enough to've turned the heating down, as it warms up the living room quicker than the radiators do.