Sunday, August 28, 2016

Power Outage

The power went out at my house today.  While where we used to live it was no big deal if the power went out (common, especially during winter storms) this was the first time we have had a power outage since moving to Las Vegas.  Here’s what happened…
  • Power zapped off then on then off.  And it stayed that way.
  • No power means no internet at the house so used my cell phone to access the internet.
  • Checked the energy company’s website for power outages (none were immediately reported) so I went ahead and reported my address as an outage.
  • Checked back about ten minutes later and an outage of about 2000 customers was reported in my area.
  • Checked the local emergency incidents page on Facebook and noted others were having the same problem.
  • Enjoyed the absolute silence in the neighborhood (unusual in Vegas, especially in the summer when everyone has their AC on).
  • Decided to write out a draft of this post (my laptop was still charged).
  • Picked up the phone to get some more info and the internet wasn’t working on it (either the battery packs on the internet data antennas in the area were dying or too many neighbors were trying to use the same internet connection).
  • Tried to call the spouse who was out to lunch with friends and calls wouldn’t go through.  The message said there was no cellular network available.  This situation is going to require a redundancy plan.
  • Moved upstairs to my office and “ta da” got a signal for my phone.
  • Was able to get online on my phone and got an email from the energy company saying the outage would last another few hours.
  • Broke out the emergency radio.  Half of the AM stations (where most local talk radio resides) are in Spanish.  Good thing I speak Spanish?  It isn’t a big outage so no info on the radio about it.
  • Not too worried about not having AC (it’s less than a hundred degrees today which is good).  Plus if it gets too hot I can always remove myself to a casino.
  • Am slightly worried about the fish.  Their air pump isn’t working and I’m wondering how long it will be until they become hypoxic. 
  • Sat on the deck and read a book that I had on my tablet (I charge it each morning as well).
  • Power came on two hours earlier than expected.

What worked:
  • Making a habit of keeping my electronics (cell, tablet, laptop) charged.  I also have a power inverter for my vehicle that I can use to charge electronics if needed.
  • Using my cell data to access information.  Very useful.
  • Water (no problem), food (plenty of no-cook and easy to cook food, no problem), cooking (multiple redundancies, no problem)
  • Could have easily evacuated if needed (have vehicle at the ready and the outage was in a limited area)
  • Being able to report a power outage online was good (I wouldn’t have wasted my time waiting on hold to talk to an actual person about it)

What didn’t work:
  • We don’t have a generator which, during a long-term outage would have been nice (the fish survived anyway).
  • Cell service was iffy (in an emergency like needing to call 911 this would have been a problem)
  • I don’t get bored by myself but for a family, a long-term outage would have led to dire boredom without access to the internet.

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