Why Do We Lose Power So Easily?

Ever lose power when the sky is blue?  That happened to me this week at both my place of work and my home.  While at home the answer was not clear, at work it was totally apparent.  There is a pole in front of our building that has not once, not twice but at least 3 times since we moved in the building had at least one of the three wires break.  For those who don’t know how power works in your home or business, it typically has 2 or 3 phases. Each phase requires a wire.  In the case of my workplace, one phase went out.  That meant part of the building had power, the rest had nothing. In this week’s case, it was windy.  The wind pushed the wires and insulators, and the stress was too much and one phase broke. Seeing the pole responsible — and how it’s designed — makes it clear how brittle our infrastructure is.

What is even more bothersome is how long it takes to fix these outages.  It seems to be getting longer.  While most outages are short, when a weather event happens, it can be a long time.  This week it took almost 4 hours to restore power to my house, which wasn’t bad.  In some areas it has taken days. For example, a few years ago we had the remnants of Hurricane Ike blow through the area. My son missed most of the week of school when that happened.  If you have a business, one of the items you should look into is how to stay online when the power goes out.  If you don’t, then you could lose a lot of business especially if your business could help people during such an event.

One thing I plan on doing before it happens again is to make sure I have some way of charging my devices.  In an emergency, our mobile phones and devices are our life line.  So I am going to be purchasing something like the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation that Dan has covered here on Gear Diary.

I know this is very much a first world problem, but it seems to me that things might have actually been better a few years ago. Outages that happened then where very brief; now it seems that if the power goes out, you are lucky if you are only down for an hour.

What do you think? Is it better or worse in your area?  What have you done to be prepared?

Categories: Gear Bits

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1 reply

  1. here in The Netherlands only the most rural of areas has overhead power lines.
    Most are subterranean, and outages only occur when some @#$$ digs them up inadvertently, or when a substation catches fire. Years can go by without significant outages. So it’s probably a matter of investing in Infrastructure. Also, over here the network is a monopoly, with stringent reinvestment requirements, but any power-supplier can use the network.