Long, Dark Night, Um, Day Of The (Power) Pole

We finally got tired of waiting and went out to dinner. FINALLY, after a pleasant meal and a chance to catch up with an old Democratic colleague of ours whom we hadn’t seen in a while, we came home to find the power back on. That seems an awfully long time to repair a problem from a garden-variety thunderstorm, but there it is. Things appear normal again. I’m afraid the day was pretty much a waste.

Stella starts a new job tomorrow, so I’m going to enjoy a chat with her before she once again disappears into the world of nine-to-five 7:30-to-7:00 again. May tomorrow be a better day for all of us.

ADDED: today we had one of the most satisfying, drenching rains we’ve seen in months. Gawd, we needed that!

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  • Bryan  On Sunday October 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Sounds like something I saw here following the first thunderstorm after a long dry spell – lots of big pine limbs coming down. Even though they had needles, the wood wasn’t flexible, like it usually is, but brittle, and there was no evidence of sap on the end that broke off. These were limbs with 4-6 inch diameters.

    The other possibility is a flood at a sub-station.

    • Steve  On Sunday October 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      Bryan, my friend and neighbor George (whose wife Barbara sometimes comments here… no, not the Bushes, names notwithstanding!) says he heard the transformer explode, so the outage was fairly local to our neighborhood. The library at the major street a block away had lights (though it wasn’t open); the place we ate dinner, about a mile away, had never lost power. So apparently it was all due to that one transformer. But it certainly lasted enough hours to be annoying!

  • Bryan  On Monday October 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    We have transformers ‘pop’ all the time from arcing during storms, including the 16KV monster in front of my Mother’s house, but usually the circuit breakers catch the load and they just reset them. They have the reset handle at the bottom of the pole, so all it takes is someone with the key to do it, rather than a bucket truck crew.

    If they actually had to replace the transformer, that is an all day project, much spent wanting while the re-routing is done so the crew can work without getting fried.

    There is a procedure that is rather comic, rather like the passing of the keys at the Unseen University. First go up to check the transformer [if it is really blown everyone within blocks can smell it]. Then have a supervisor check that you checked. Then everyone put on their gear. Then wait for verification that the circuit is turned off. Then go up and verify that the circuit is turned off. et cetera. They have a check list. I realize that it is a safety issue, but they could at least have the new transformer on its way as soon as the old one is determined to have died. Apparently the same supervisor who checked has to go the warehouse and sign for the new transformer and have a yet another truck with room for it load it and take it to the site.

    Oh, yes, as many of the older transformers still have PCBs, so they require another group to collect them for disposal.

    • Steve  On Monday October 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Bryan, one of the few (and grim) pleasures of going through Hurricane Ike was watching the skyline as transformers blew all over the city, one every few seconds, each with a blue-white flash. (No, we couldn’t see them from our apartments, but Stella had a battery-powered TV, which is now a splendid paperweight.) Reliant and Centerpoint must have lost a couple hundred transformers, and we were without power for two weeks. (I’d be willing to bet that the mayor’s home was not powerless for that long!)

    • Steve  On Monday October 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      BTW, we just came home from the library to find one of those brittle-but-waterlogged branches which had fallen on our back deck. This has been a truly exceptional dry spell.

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