Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh, The Outage!

Remember how this summer has been bone dry? Baking hot? The scorched terrain of Hillmomba gasping for a sip of lifesaving moisture? For five solid weeks, nary a drop of H two O has fallen within three miles of the Mansion.

Until last night.

All summer, The Pony and I have been eagerly awaiting the debut of Big Brother. We never miss a night. It only started last Thursday. So we had viewed two broadcasts so far. Learned the names of the Houseguests. Seen two competitions. Last night, anticipating the Veto Competition just after the commercial break, our viewing pleasure was rudely interrupted by loss of satellite signal. We heard a few peals of thunder. Regained our connection after fifteen minutes, just in time to see the Veto Ceremony. Then the entire Mansion went dark.

Our second power outage in three weeks.

That's an outrage! You'd think our power grid was constructed and maintained by a tween who had just learned to wire lightbulbs in series with some copper wire and a nine-volt battery.

Hey! Have you heard? We are in the grip of a heat wave! And the Mansion is totally electric. I made a brief reconnaissance mission to the front porch, where I observed a few clouds in the sky. No rain. What might have fallen as a few random sprinkles must have evaporated upon striking the brick sidewalk like a drop of water on a hot griddle. All that angst, and still no precipitation to show for it.

Farmer H fired up his untrusty generator. The one not big enough to power our air conditioner or furnace. I give him mad props for that little service, though, because it allowed me to watch TV in the basement with one lamp, kept Frig operating, provided for a flow of water from the well, and kept the hot-headed Farmer himself from blowing his stack, with a hot ceiling-fan breeze for perspiration evaporation.

The outage officially occurred at 8:02 p.m. I had reported it online to Ameren Missouri by 8:10. Hmm...just like last time, 47 homes without power. Farmer H said the culprit last time was the McCoy trees, rubbing on the wire, causing a breaker to blow. Or some such thing. I'm not knowledgeable in electricity. The lightbulb tween has me beat.

So wouldn't you think, in discovering the reason for the last outage affecting the same households, good ol' Ameren would see any impending problems while driving the line for an initial visual inspection, and remediate them forthwith? Apparently not. The last outage lasted about five hours. Within twenty minutes of reporting it, we saw the trucks along our gravel road. Not so last night.

Around 9:15, Farmer H decided to take a ride and see where Ameren trucks might be working. Keep in mind there was no actual storm. Just some thunder. A few sprinkles. Isolated. By 9:45, Farmer H reported that the cause of the outage was a tree limb and power line laying across the blacktop county road. And that nobody was working on it. Nobody. Did you read that? Between 8:02 and 9:45, Ameren had not sent a crew. Which certainly makes me feel like the money I spend on my monthly electric bill, higher than my house payment, is not being put to good use.

Our power was restored at 2:50 a.m. I suppose I'm lucky I'm not one of those folks out east. Seven hours is better than seven days or seven weeks. But they actually had a big storm, and many downed trees. This was one limb. With a wire I suppose was live on one end laying across the road. And no other damage in our county or the neighboring ones.

I suspect the workers were sitting at home watching their TV shows until 10:00.


Sioux said...

At least you did not miss your alarm ringing in the morning, resulting in you not being able to wake up your houseguest, who was hoping to run in the NYC marathon.

7 hours without electricity. I am sure Ameren will gladly apply a deduction of 7/24 of your daily electricity bill, if only you ask...

Hillbilly Mom said...

And furthermore, I did not hand my houseguest, Jean-Paul, a steaming cup of coffee to hydrate himself during his 26-mile race.

Nor did I find a need to axe my Japanese businessmen guests out of the Farbman dresser drawers in which they slept.

I think Ameren should reimburse me for the four gallons of gas that I burned in the generator. Thank the Gummi Mary, I did not need to use it to save my high game on Frogger.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Have you recieved the notice about the prposed Ameren rate increase? 14%. I want a wind turbine and some solar panels. He who said they were too expensive .......

Hillbilly Mom said...

Are we still paying off the Taum Sauk fiasco? My Farmer Who was all gung ho to buy a diesel truck a few years ago. Good thing I talked him out of it, as diesel jumped in price.

We should probably invest in one of those outside-the-house wood furnace thingies. I've known several people who have them, and they seem quite efficient. We have no shortage of wood on our 30 acres. But I don't want to be 89 years old, filling that furnace in my fuzzy slippers.