Jump to content
Survival Threads
zackmars

Power company

Recommended Posts

Not going to drop names, not yet anyhow.

 

A power outage is no big deal to me, I'm plenty capable of being self reliant. Extra food, water, generators, you name it. But when i pay good money for a service you provide, i expect you to deliver. I can understand interruptions for various acts of god, but a simple blown transfomer and downed line should not translate into 9 hours without power, or running water (we have well water) and to lie to my face and say 3000 people in my area code are without power (a quck drve disproves this)

I'm tired, I'll try to get some sleep and come back to add more detail

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sucks, I know. Toronto Hydro (electricity) went out for 1 week in December...in Canada.

So many old people suffered in silence because they didn't have anyone to check in on them and it was really disheartening to see the response from the only electricity provider (they own the grid) in our area.

http://morethanjustsurviving.com/preparing-for-winter/

Keep us updated mate!

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As they guy that keeps the lights on in this part of the would I agree a transformer and a line down should not be a 9 hour outage. Then again I work transmission and not distribution but that sure sounds sloppy to me.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

15 hours so far.

 

Saw work trucks drive by, so hopefully its over soon.

 

Some more details.

 

Calling the provider, we were given a serious run around, one CS rep refused to even give us her name. After a few minutes, se said "janet". Most likely not her actual name. She told us to contact an "engineer or supervisor" but did not tell us how to do that

 

Quoted times to get the power back on ranged from 8 last night, to 10 am today.

 

This is also like the 3rd outage we've had this month

 

 

On the bright side, i have a nice collections of streamlight and surefire flashlights since implementing "buy one off amazin after every outage"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Powers been on for maybe 30 minutes, thunder, rain and lightning going outside, mad dash to recharge everything, and check on the gennys.

 

Yay

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was out 21 hours a week ago here. But they had to bring in a tracked crane to set poles up in the mud and re-string the line ( record drought down south, saturated mud up here ) The guys dropped by about 6 hours in and as my place was about the only one effected and they were running on force of habit, just told them we could handle it if they wanted sleep. Ran the gen sets 2 on, 6 off, so the fridges, freezers and battery backups stayed up.

Oh yeah , little DIY I just did... had a UPS on the cordless phones but it would kill a small car battery in 9 hours, very inefficient. Now , a charge control and booster for a Li-ion , modified to 5.5 volts to directly feed the phone base ( had to change one resistor ) and made a 4 cell 18650 // pack. Good for 2 weeks of no power and is about the size of a cig. pack. Frees up the UPS and battery for other uses.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never experienced outages until I moved to North America- is there something drastically different with your grid vs the UK one? I don't know a single person who has had a power outage. I asked my Grandmother and in 30 years, she never had one either.

What gives? :o 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Thomas said:

I never experienced outages until I moved to North America- is there something drastically different with your grid vs the UK one? I don't know a single person who has had a power outage. I asked my Grandmother and in 30 years, she never had one either.

What gives? :o 

I expect population, area and climate may have something to do with it Thomas. Canada vs UK , apx 40 times the area with apx. 1/2 the population. Actually my province has nearly 3 times the area and 1/60 the population, and some fairly fierce weather related power issues. Ice storms, lightning strikes and even just the expansion and contraction with the temperature ranging apx. 100 degrees C .   Population density for the Northern 1/2 of my province is even worse , larger area then the UK and 1/3 the population of Reading England. Works out to about one person for every 10 square Km.  So the power "grid" is usually more of a power line north of the 53.  very little in the way of redundant feeds. We also have an issue related to the speed of light ... the North American power grid is large enough that if it were a full circle their would be a large phase change around it ( sort of like if you didn't have an international date line you would gain a day circling the earth east and lose one circling west ) As it is BC and Alberta cross tie into the western US, and eastern Canada ties to the US east coast with the dividing line being the Sask-Alberta border. Distances.. if the circle were 5,000 km then the phase shift would be exactly one cycle at 60 Hz, all good as it would present no conflict at any point, if it were 2500 Km it would be 180 degrees out , can't just connect the ends, but you could pick a point to insert a set of transformers to invert that, but out side of those two lengths the phase shift represents a load. Actually 2500 km with no correction point would be a dead short at 60 Hz, everything put into that grid would be converted into heat. The UK is compact enough that the phase shift will be less of an issue.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad i bought a nintendo switch. Being able to plop it down and be able to destroy people in Mario kart 8 is awesome, power outage be damned

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More then once I've been typing something on here when the power failed ( actually was out this AM for a few hours, while I typed my last posting, but I was in town at work and unaware ). Usually that triggers a chain of events... I go "Oh, the power is out" then phone it in to the power company and go back to what I was doing. If it's still out 6 hours later I fire up the gen set, and do any power hungry things I had put off ( the spot welder takes everything a 15 amp circuit will put out, dims the lights when I tap the foot switch ) while the freezers, fridges, battery chargers, grey water discharge and pressure pumps run.

I'm looking at an automatic switch over set up though, and will probably automate the starting and run cycle on the gen set once I have that. Could monitor current and have the set shut down once it drops below an amp or so. Save fuel :). If I decide I have too much time :D I could phase lock the throttle to a crystal time base, but other then one badly designed clock and a constant voltage transformer, there isn't much left that is frequency sensitive enough to matter.

So, really, the level of panic is all of a shrug. If it's several days, it might set me back $40 to go refill the gas cans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Gary_Gough said:

I expect population, area and climate may have something to do with it Thomas. Canada vs UK , apx 40 times the area with apx. 1/2 the population. Actually my province has nearly 3 times the area and 1/60 the population, and some fairly fierce weather related power issues. Ice storms, lightning strikes and even just the expansion and contraction with the temperature ranging apx. 100 degrees C .   Population density for the Northern 1/2 of my province is even worse , larger area then the UK and 1/3 the population of Reading England. Works out to about one person for every 10 square Km.  So the power "grid" is usually more of a power line north of the 53.  very little in the way of redundant feeds. We also have an issue related to the speed of light ... the North American power grid is large enough that if it were a full circle their would be a large phase change around it ( sort of like if you didn't have an international date line you would gain a day circling the earth east and lose one circling west ) As it is BC and Alberta cross tie into the western US, and eastern Canada ties to the US east coast with the dividing line being the Sask-Alberta border. Distances.. if the circle were 5,000 km then the phase shift would be exactly one cycle at 60 Hz, all good as it would present no conflict at any point, if it were 2500 Km it would be 180 degrees out , can't just connect the ends, but you could pick a point to insert a set of transformers to invert that, but out side of those two lengths the phase shift represents a load. Actually 2500 km with no correction point would be a dead short at 60 Hz, everything put into that grid would be converted into heat. The UK is compact enough that the phase shift will be less of an issue.

Makes sense, population density of the UK is pretty extreme so it stands to reason that our network is so saturated. What do you think about the differences in power output? Gotta say one of the things I love the post is how difficult it is to overload a socket in the UK. I remember in Canada being unable to use a toaster oven and kettle at the same time on the same line which took a while to get used to!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Thomas said:

Makes sense, population density of the UK is pretty extreme so it stands to reason that our network is so saturated. What do you think about the differences in power output? Gotta say one of the things I love the post is how difficult it is to overload a socket in the UK. I remember in Canada being unable to use a toaster oven and kettle at the same time on the same line which took a while to get used to!

240 volt is a great idea, would be even better if we used three phase but that's only industrial for now. ( Since it's a single feed line, when I want three phase I have to make my own. Starting load when firing up a rotary transformer is pretty impressive ) Cable gauges and run lengths are limited to an acceptable  % voltage loss. So for a given current load you can go twice as far with 240 ( and as P=VI , you have twice the power, so really for a given Power load it's 4 times as far ). Over all with twice the voltage everything can be lighter, the plugs and sockets don't heat as much even when they aren't making the best connection. Only down sides are more intense shocks if you mess up and the insulation needs to be up to it.  Slight aside, a 50 KW transmitter got wired with welding cable instead of the specified power cable ( same gauge but a lower grade of rubber insulation ) after several years it arced through and came close to burning the site down. If two techs hadn't been in the building when it happened it would have.

I grew up when 6 volt batteries were still common in cars. Massive cables to the starter , thick wiring throughout and the head lights compared favorably to two shielded candles, kind of a dull red glow in front of the truck.  The resistive losses are also why the lower voltage distribution system is 14,000 volts, I gather some of the truly long distance lines are running 5 million volts, which by back of envelope calculations could jump a straight path of nearly 3.5 meters, must have impressive insulators too! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Gary_Gough it's hard talking with tongue in cheek isn't it? :D  Their temps are mild enough by our standards but the snow is real, I've seen the pics.  Power company response to weather-related outages in most of North America should be better than in the UK just because ours is tooled up and trained for it.  Same for road clearing and snow removal; we have the hundreds of plows and graders and operators and budget millions of dollars for dealing with these storms but the UK got caught by surprise and without the material resources it will take longer to clear up than the day or 2 we're used to.  Here's our current storm (not sure how comparable but there will be a fair bit of snow), and while there will likely be accidents and a handfull of casualties it shouldn't come near the toll in England so far.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4058717/sask-snowstorms-will-pack-a-one-two-punch/

Edited by Rick
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, what we are getting ( 50 cm of snow , -20c in places ) is nothing out of the ordinary range but a major issue when it's a rare event. I was thinking @Thomas and @Elise at least have been through it here so may have a different perspective on what needs to be done. I do recall a couple of years about 40 ago when England had extra cold winters, power loss, and the farmers couldn't run their diesel tractors because the ( summer grade ) fuel was congealing in the tanks. That followed by record high temperatures ( upper 30 C ) and the asphalt was melting and damaging highways.  I wonder if anyone has stocked up additives to thin fuel so the farmers could be called on to help with road clearing, or if they are out of action too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Gary_Gough said:

I wonder if anyone has stocked up additives to thin fuel so the farmers could be called on to help with road clearing, or if they are out of action too.

One clip on the news showed drifts  6' deep over a major highway and a little front-end loader working away at it that didn't look regulation... There are real plows but probably not enough, and while looking on youtube saw something about gas supplies in danger.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outlier weather events always cause problems when the infrastructure isn't ready for them. Government funding is based on previous few year averages, not on historical maximums. In my area, 10 inches of snow, 4 or 5 times per winter used to be normal before things started getting hotter on average. Now, 4 inches is a disaster, but 2 or 3 gets only mimimal cleanup, because it will likely be gone in a couple days, but warnings go out that creeks and rivers will flood. Interstate highways get plowed, not local streets and roads.

I'm reminded of my first winter in Virginia,  after 4 years in Ithaca, NY. 3 days of 2 inch snowfall shut the whole town down. University classes cancelled, city buses not running, roads closed. I walked the quarter mile to the hospital,  and ran the lab alone. Got commended for it, and commented "Where I  came from, that's how much snow we got on days that it didn't really snow."

It's all relative, but you still need to be prepared for the unexpected. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you are used to.... I've been allowed to drive through closed roads in New Mexico after the state troopers looked at the 20 inch snow tires on the bus I was driving and maybe caught the surprise in my voice at 15 cm finger snow drifts every quarter mile being considered a problem ( well I said "I just drove out of three feet of this stuff" ). It's also much like a power outage now being a life threatening problem where they "don't happen" , really can be critical with oxygen equipment, heat, air conditioning. If it goes out several times a week then you adapt and put systems in place to cover.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×