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SpringHeeledJack
1st Mar 2013, 16:00
In the last 2 weeks I've had the pleasure or 4 evenings of power cuts, each starting at around 6.30pm at the start of peak demand and lasting until midnight. Apart from power-cuts experienced in Banana Republics, it's been a long, long while since I've had the experience of fumbling around in the pitch black for a torch, matches, candles etc and I'd have to say it was pretty humbling experience to re-realise just how dependent we all are on electricity and except in a few cases, we're totally f**ked when it disappears. Even the gas devices are controlled by electrically driven parts.....God help us if there's a major disruption in the power grid :uhoh:

As an aside, the fault appears to be in a local sub-station and has affected 300 homes and businesses. For myself, damage to frozen/refrigerated foods, discomfort/inconvenience and time lost ppruning :8 have motivated me to seek a reduction in the next electrickery bill, but how ? The network isn't the company that I pay for the privilege, so does anyone have an idea ?



SHJ

G-CPTN
1st Mar 2013, 16:18
Regardless of 'supplier' it is the company that maintains the network who are responsible for recompense when you suffer outages. You may find that there has to be a continuous period of some hours (ten?) before you can claim.

Look in your telephone directory under Electricity (emergencies) to discover who is your network provider.

500N
1st Mar 2013, 16:32
SpringHeeledJack

Well, for the first time in a long time in Australia, I came home to find the power out.

Now I was never one for "fumbling around in the pitch black for a torch, matches, candles etc" so quite a few years ago I purchased some Solar Lights which live in the spare room when not in use (I also use them camping / hunting as they can be recharged each day). IMHO These are not expensive
but most importantly they work !!!

These Solar lights are the only one's I've found that hold their charge
for a long time and don't need constantly "topping up" so are ready
to go when needed which is exactly what they did the other night.

I have had mine (8 lights in all) for over 5 years and they are still going strong.

Anyway, here is a link to the two types I use. This is a US web site.

Newlite, EverLite, Solar, Rechargeable, LED, Headlamp, Li Ion, PV, RV, Green, Sport, EverLite Home Page (http://www.newlite.com/)

I use these two. (and since I have the Solar panel, a few years later I purchased the adaptors so now I also use it to charge my mobile phone when away from everything. Am looking to see if I can charge a GPS / Radio as well).

EL6 Compact Solar Lamp, MSRP $59.95 (http://www.newlite.com/catpage/el6.html)

EL7 Mini EverLite®, MSRP $16.95 (http://www.newlite.com/catpage/el7.html)

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 16:36
500N:

Lucky you. We experience a power outage at least twice per week. Granted, we live in a very remote area but, still......

During "Superstorm" Sandy we lost power for a week.
When we tried to have $$$$ deducted from our Electric bill the power supplier basically said: Tough titty said the kitty as "it was an act of God." When the customer service rep told me that I asked her why God would want to take our electricity away, the creep. Silence resulted on her end.

pigboat
1st Mar 2013, 16:45
..each starting at around 6.30pm at the start of peak demand and lasting until midnight.
Is your power generated by wind turbine or solar panels? The greenies don't advertise this, but it's what happens when the wind dies down and it gets dark. ;)

tom775257
1st Mar 2013, 16:53
I have this every summer, probably 3 times a week.

I'm looking at getting an automatic starting circa 5kw diesel gen set. Unfortunately they cost a lot, so I'm considering getting a Chinese one (Kipor) on the cheap. £1200 with automatic starting and transfer... however will it break within a week? Probably. £5k for a good one, which is more than I can afford at the moment.

Slasher
1st Mar 2013, 17:02
Rgb this model home backup genny (http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Generac-Guardian-5875-Standby-Generator/p4797.html#reviews) is quite popular in the States. Though power
failures aren't all that common here, I'm thinking of getting one meself. I reckon
anything less than 20kw won't be enough to support all the shit you'd still want
to maintain.

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:06
Slasher:

I'm not bothered by the power outages. Especially not at night.
When it happens during hours of darkness (95% of the time) I just simply strap on my NOD (Night Observation Device) and bring the Mrs. to bed for a sound thrashing. She glows both during and afterwards. Sort of greenish but that's okay.

500N
1st Mar 2013, 17:06
"20kw won't be enough to support all the shit you'd still want
to maintain."


Slasher

What do you need to maintain except the Fridge and the Freezer ?

Genuine question.

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:08
500N wrote:

What do you need to maintain except the Fridge and the Freezer ?

Genuine question.

THE COMPUTERS. WITHOUT WHICH I WOULD DIE.

500N
1st Mar 2013, 17:09
RGB

Can't you do without them for a couple of hours ?

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:10
NO. NO. AND NO.

Next question.

G-CPTN
1st Mar 2013, 17:23
In addition to the genset you have to install changeover switching to isolate the mains from your generator.

Slasher
1st Mar 2013, 17:25
500N -

Fridge
Freezer
Coffee maker / hot water urn / lecky jugs
Aircon (if its a hot muggy night)
Puters
Modem & router
TV (sometimes)
DVD player (sometimes)
Lights (if at night)
Washing machine (when needed)
Lecky stove (if needed)
Fans (if Summer)
Fancy Jap electric dunny in ensuite
Lecky water pump for 2nd story
iPad/ph chargers etc.

In short - all the basic necessities for survival. :}

Not all these would be on at the same time but auto load-shed events would be much reduced
rather than using a lower rated genny.

Rgb yes of course - I forgot Rangers can certainly rough it in any unelectrified wild plain of CT! ;)

CPTN - most home gennys (in the US anyway) have auto changeover capability.

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:27
G-CPTN:

I know a lot of people who don't do that i.e., isolating the gen from the public utility. Which is all fine and dandy. Until the day comes when something goes bump in the night and your generator sends a surge down the public utility company's lines and blows out one of their transformers.

500N
1st Mar 2013, 17:33
OK, OK, understand.

I'm off to stoke the cooking fire with a bit more wood
and turn by hand the plastic washing drum a few more times
Then I think I might scribble a note on a piece of slate
all the whole sitting under the hand pumped fan :O

Must move into the 21st C soon :ok:

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 17:39
500N:

Seems like camping in the outback all over again, don't it? :}:}

500N
1st Mar 2013, 17:43
RGB

That's home :O

Camping in the outback involves washing in the creek
and no lacky pulling the fan.

rgbrock1
1st Mar 2013, 18:28
Washing in the creek? What are you a girl? :}

Real Men don't bother washing. And they wear the same underwear for a month. The overwhelming stench thereof is rather easily mitigated by turning them inside out so as to wear the same underwear for another month! (Been there, done that. But the one aspect of this which is always humorous is when you take those same underwear off and they run down the hallway screaming bloody murder. Or when you take them off, throw them against a wall, for example, and they stick.)

west lakes
1st Mar 2013, 18:45
If you are in the UK.
Who to contact, links to the DNOs

ENA - Electricity Emergencies (http://www.energynetworks.org/info/emergencies/electricity-emergencies.html)

Check the DNO guaranteed standards, there is compensation in case of multiple power cuts in certain circumstances.

Withholding money for Electricity bills is NOT a good idea and can lead to huge problems for customers that try it!

(Bottom line is that legally a continuous supply is not guaranteed)

gingernut
1st Mar 2013, 19:33
SHJ , seem to remember reading somewhere that the freezer is ok for about 24hrs as long as you keep it stocked, and don't open the door to often.

I expect the fridge is a little more sensitive though.

The service sounds crap, any advice from Offwhatever.

radeng
1st Mar 2013, 19:53
Repetitive complaining however, pees them off. You can then string a good story to the local paper, and accuse them of professional incompetence.

The local chief engineer will almost certainly be a member of a professional institution: find his name and complain to their ethics committee about his failure. It won't get you very far, but it will give him an inordinate amount of hassle.

Worth it just to p*ss off the bastards!

OFSO
1st Mar 2013, 20:06
Come and live in Spain, they have not come to grips yet with providing a constant power supply. Or sewers, thats another problem here. But apart from electricity and sewers, no problems, Well, apart from water. Water goes off now and again., But that is it ! Well, no, sometimes, VERY rarely to be honest, the gas is turned off at the source by Mr Repsol. Other than that....well, and they haven't learned that asphalt on roads should be more than 2mm thick for durability. But other than electricity, sewers, water, gas and the roads, NO PROBLEMS. Except for postal deliveries.

Oh, did I mention Telefonica ?

G-CPTN
1st Mar 2013, 20:07
If you are in the UK.
Who to contact, links to the DNOs
That's OK, but how do you access the internet (using a standard computer) when the router relies on electricity? The laptop still works but has no way to connect . . .

I had to dig out my (paper) telephone directory (and a torch) to find the number of the grid supplier.

west lakes
1st Mar 2013, 20:13
Worth it just to p*ss off the bastards! Well thank you for that I'm sure that myself and all the other folk that work for DNOs will appreciate it.

In these situations we have to go through hoops to find the reason, find the solution and prevent it happening again. These power cuts cost the DNO a lot of cash especially if they trigger compensation.

Strange thing is that we've yet to find a "snap our finger" solution. I've been dealing with something similar in my patch over the last few weeks, it took a lot of monitoring, discussion and some creative planning to sort it out.
I'm now off work sick whilst I receive Radio-therapy but will be going in on Tuesday to download the latest monitoring data to confirm we got the right solution - if not to discuss another one!!

So do not ever accuse us of not caring!!

west lakes
1st Mar 2013, 20:15
That's OK, but how do you access the internetEvery Electricity Bill has the DNO contact details on!

(or like I do via my mobile phone or 3G dongle if I have to!)

radeng
1st Mar 2013, 20:19
When I moved here in 1985, water came from British Rail (long story). Then Thames Water took over, since when, the reliable length of time of water supply with no interruptions is no better than the lifespan of an Italian government. About 50% of the time, they will inform one of interruptions.

Plus they wanted to charge me for sewerage. They did not appear happy when I asked which of their maps showed them having a sewer within 5 miles.....

A load of ass**les....

OFSO
1st Mar 2013, 20:20
how do you access the internet

WiMax: microwave antenna on roof looking at mast in Figueras 15kms away. Completenly independent of the ol' copper wires.

All run off massive horridly noisy APU which gives me about an hour when the eletecrons suppliued by Fecsa Endesa (although we often paraphrase their first name) take a break.

gingernut
1st Mar 2013, 20:32
Our local Smooth FM Radio channel advertises some outfit you phone immediately the power goes down.

Some'at to do with the division of powers between the suppliers and the bit near your home.

radeng
1st Mar 2013, 20:33
The interesting point is that over the years since 1985, the supply reliability has gone down. I estimate it is about 70 % of what it was in 1985 for electricity, and 50% for water. So if it's tough sh*t on the DNO when I cause them trouble for them not delivering, IT IS THEIR OWN DAMN FAULT!

Now give your managers hell.............

They aren't charging me a lower price.....

westlakes, hope it goes well for you. Good luck...

west lakes
1st Mar 2013, 20:42
The interesting point is that over the years since 1985, the supply reliability has gone down

Which is interesting as over the years the number of call-outs I get on standby have dropped from about 4 in 7 days to about 1 in 7 days owing to far fewer faults on our system.

radeng
1st Mar 2013, 20:45
Wish it was the same here......Perhaps a good job we don't have gas as well!

Windy Militant
1st Mar 2013, 21:56
Hmm I wonder if it's age related, When I briefly worked for SWEB before the big sell off there was much fettling of the system from the grid to the consumer. There as an awful lot of Aerial Bundled Cabling installed to replace the old uninsulated conductors. That stuff is now getting on for twenty five years old so must be getting tired by now.
One thing that caused problems after the sell off were trees. SWEB had a dedicated gang at each depot who were employed full time to keep the lines clear before they had problems. As soon as the board was privatised they did away with that, and sure enough they had problems in the second winter after the sale when the winds started blowing the trees about. I guess they must use contractors now!
Having said that the best thing that happened for us back home was the winter of 81/82 up until then we had regular power cuts every winter. But there was so much damage done to the lines by the snow they were forced to do some serious remedial work after which the traditional Christmas call out became a thing of the past. :}

SpringHeeledJack
2nd Mar 2013, 10:01
Thanks for the replies, I was speaking to my local corner shop owner last night and he was lamenting the fact that his refrigerated stock had been damaged by the various power cuts and that the network had declined to offer him any compensation for the (up to now) 4 separate power cuts causing him to lose approx 25hrs of business and damage to product and advised him to claim on his insurance. He felt that he was between a rock and a hard place, claim on the insurance and the premiums would go up or swallow the losses and be out of pocket.....

I appreciate that in urban areas power cuts are rare, perhaps very rare, but to have a continuing apparently undetected issue that has been affecting a few thousand people for days seems a bit lacking in efficiency to me. A neighbour mentioned that the speed of things being fixed is influenced by the number of calls that the network receive from aggrieved customers (metrics ?).



SHJ

Haraka
2nd Mar 2013, 12:16
Our longest power cut here last year was eight weeks.
But I can always look out over the Indian Ocean.

charliegolf
2nd Mar 2013, 12:55
RGB:

Real Men don't bother washing. And they wear the same underwear for a month.

No, 5 months.
Month 1 normal wear
2 back to front
3 inside out
4 back to front inside out


Month 5: Soup!

CG

Haraka
2nd Mar 2013, 14:01
Month 1 normal wear
2 back to front
3 inside out
4 back to front inside out


Month 5: Swop with your best mate

sisemen
2nd Mar 2013, 15:13
A few years ago we had an electricity supply which was woeful and could not be relied on. I invested in a standby generator which runs:

Lights in the living area/study/kitchen
TV
Sockets in the kitchen/living area
Fridge
Freezer
Water (we collect rain in tanks and have to pump it up to the house)

That's enough for survival: entertainment, light, cold beer, kettle and computer.

Dushan
2nd Mar 2013, 15:28
500N:

Lucky you. We experience a power outage at least twice per week. Granted, we live in a very remote area but, still......

During "Superstorm" Sandy we lost power for a week.
When we tried to have $$$$ deducted from our Electric bill the power supplier basically said: Tough titty said the kitty as "it was an act of God." When the customer service rep told me that I asked her why God would want to take our electricity away, the creep. Silence resulted on her end.

Surely the meter wasn't running when you had the outage so why would you be asking for a refund. On what? The electricity ou didn't use.

OTOH if you fire up the Abrams in yiu driveway, I am sure it can be used as a generator for the house.

rgbrock1
2nd Mar 2013, 18:17
Dushan,

Here in the great Fascist state of Connect-The-Crap electric is supplied by a company of your choice and the transmission lines are owned by a different company. The transmission part of the electric bill is standard, month-to-month regardless of usage.

Now, if I lose power for a week I can understand the electric meter stops thus no refund necessary. HOWEVER. The standard monthly transmission fee should be adjusted accordingly as that is not billed as part of the metering. The latter is who I inquired about a refund.

Verstehen?

west lakes
2nd Mar 2013, 18:43
In this regulator controlled country however, you would be entitled, in most circumstances to a payment of £200 if you were without power for 8 days!

P.S. Springheeledjack, check the Guaranteed Standards of Service for your DNO. You are entitled to a payment for 4 unplanned outages of more than 3 hours! (as is every other customer affected)

radeng
2nd Mar 2013, 19:09
rgb

Don't you have a utilities commissioner responsible for customer services or whatever? Or a small claims court?

toffeez
2nd Mar 2013, 19:11
The electricity is never cut off.
The telephone is never cut off.
The internet is never cut off.
The water is never cut off.
The gas is never cut off.
(ok, we don't have gas)

We live in the city!

One makes one's choices in life. Don't complain.

OFSO
2nd Mar 2013, 20:16
And when the big one comes, you'll be helpless. We've got LOTS of candles, two bottles of gas for the catalytic heater, and a week's worth of wood for the stove. Plus solar-powered lighting. Well, lights.
Did we ever have to use it ? Yes, during the Great Snow of March 2010.

stuckgear
2nd Mar 2013, 20:41
and OFSO with your neghbours you have plenty of Germans to do the organising and French to do the catering..

or is it French to do the organising and Germans to do the catering......

:}:p;)

radeng
2nd Mar 2013, 21:00
stuckgear,

You are forgetting.......

In the European heaven

The French are the cooks
The Swiss are the bankers
The Italians are the lovers
The Germans are the engineers
The British are the policemen


In the European hell

The Italians are the bankers
The Swiss are the lovers
The French are the engineers
The Germans are the policemen
AND
The British are the cooks.

As the man said "In 1940, the British stood alone - with their cooking"

green granite
3rd Mar 2013, 11:45
Power cuts? You ain't seen nothing yet, wait till the greens have finally won and wind power rules:

From - Bishop Hill blog - The great still (http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2013/3/2/the-great-still.html)


Commenters have been noting the preposterously low output of the wind fleet at the moment - currently generating about 0.4GW or a tenth of one percent of demand.

The environmentalist argument is that by use of smart grids we can import wind power generated in other parts of Europe (I think this is because the spirit of European cooperation will inspire them to offer it to us rather than using it themselves.

radeng
3rd Mar 2013, 11:48
Meantime, the loss of power in the lengthy transmission lines heats up the environment.......Duh!

OFSO
3rd Mar 2013, 12:39
with your neghbours you have plenty of Germans to do the organising and French to do the catering..

Germans, no, Ever since the Deutsche Finanzamt got permission from the Spanish tax authorities to roam the streets of Spain, ringing doorbells with Germanic names, and asked where the money came from to buy the house, the Germans have been leaving in droves.

French, yes, Since the last election more and more wealthy French are buying plots and building on our mountainside. I estimate 60% of the houses here are owned by French non-residents who live here all the year around.

P.S. The Swiss are not the bankers in heaven. Too stolid, too dull. 70% of the wealth of Europe (and Amazon, Google etc) is kept in another creative little country.......

arcniz
3rd Mar 2013, 12:40
Radeng whinging says:

Meantime, the loss of power (from imported wind/solar) in the lengthy transmission lines heats up the environment.......Duh!

IF the power originates from Greenisch sources in Europe, the losses in transmission to distant Anglia might generate some heat, but it will be equivalent, if not actually equal, to the energy from the wind/solar-flux power at the source end captured from the ambient in the originating locality. Thus Energy taken from the environment is returned right back to it, albeit likely at little or no profit to anyone in the eco-juice loop for the lost part.

So, net-net, for purposes of Glebal Worming, no harm is done, eh?

Dushan
3rd Mar 2013, 13:28
RGB, I understand, but the company supplying the transmission line was capable of transmitting, where they not? It was the power omapny that wasn't supplying. Sor of like if your car is broken and spends a week Ina garage, the road is still there and ou get no refund on your road tax for that week. Al, you get is less charge on your toll charges for mileage or bridges. It sucks, but that's why they split it up. They did it here too. The more parties involved the easier it is to point fingers. When it was just one big ConEd it was easy to determine blame and collect damages.

Time to fire up the Abrams and make a trip to the local power company HQ.

rgbrock1
4th Mar 2013, 12:18
Dushan,

No, the company owning the transmission lines was not capable of transmitting. Sort of hard to do when the transmission line is cut by a fallen tree. Which was their out: an act of "God".

Doesn't matter really. I wouldn't have gotten a lot of $$$ back from one week's outage anyway. I was only trying to see what the power company was going to respond with to my query. They responded exactly as I figured they would.

Not worth more of an effort.