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QOTW: What's the longest you've gone without electricity?

by Parm Mann on 2 August 2013, 16:30

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Last night, my home town disappeared from view

I happened to be burning the midnight oil yesterday evening, when, all of a sudden, I'm plunged into darkness. There's been a power cut.

The street lights are out, the phones are down, heck, even the water has stopped running. "The Apocalypse has begun," says an unsympathetic friend moments before the mobile networks disappear from view.

It's been a while since I've experienced a blackout, and, having become so reliant on technology I'm completely unprepared. Candles? Matches? Nope, I have a flashlight app, and my smartphone's running out of battery. In this house, without electricity, there's little else to do but twiddle your thumbs. I figured I'd catch up with Netflix episodes on my laptop, which is fully charged, but boy, my laptop's about as useful as a paperweight when there's no Internet connection.

But good news, I woke up this morning and the power is back. Life can go on as normal. The balance has been restored. And, according to police, the outage was caused by thieves who think it's a good idea to scale telegraph poles and cut live power lines for copper worth thousands of pounds... that's another story.

This minor episode made me wonder: blackouts around here are rare, but in other countries - particularly those susceptible to stormy weather - power outages can be a regular thing. And we're not talking a few hours here or there. In India last year, a blackout lasting more than 24 hours left hundreds of millions of people without power.

So that got us thinking, what tales do you, our readers, have to tell? What's the longest you've gone without electricity? And do you consider yourself prepared for a blackout? Let us know in the comments below.



HEXUS Forums :: 46 Comments

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Six days. Showering by candlelight was nice though.

Prepared for a blackout? Yes, as long as I have fuel in the car.
It's been a long, long time and no, I will never be prepared (until I have my own generator!)

The worrying thing is, our government spent too long authorising the new nuclear generators we needed (I'm sure they thought if they kept holding out someone would magic up some renewable energy) and we are projected to start having blackouts soon because of it…..which would probably not be an issue if they legalised cannabis and the houses on almost every UK street growing it under high-wattage lights shut up shop….but that's another topic :P
I would be ok

My 7ft Marine fish tank, not so much
shaithis
which would probably not be an issue if they legalised cannabis and the houses on almost every UK street growing it under high-wattage lights shut up shop….but that's another topic :P

Smart meters ought to be able to pinpoint such abusers though. And then it's just a matter of searching the premises, reinstating public beheading for offenders, and handing their properties off to next of kin. Problem solved.

Edit: Sorry, that was harsh. Disregard for the law is a touchy subject for me lol
I think I recall about 3 power cuts. First when I was fairly young and I don't remember much about it other than it being a bit ‘exciting’, lasted maybe 7 hours I think.

Second, it was exam time in secondary school, and due to exams being held in a purely artificially lit hall, they were cancelled. When power returned the voltage started out low, and the fluorescent lights kept flickering, the inductive kick from the ballast was igniting them normally but not enough voltage to sustain the arc. I remember our form teacher joking saying if one stayed on for longer than a few seconds we'd have to do the exam. He made out as though it was his call, so we all watched anxiously. :P

Last time was just a few weeks ago, right in the middle of having a shower, but our gas cooker enabled me to heat some water and finish off comfortably. I discovered a few things though - first, VM's access network doesn't appear to be battery-backed at all, even their phone service. Mobile networks seemed OK though, but AFAIK some smaller ‘filler’ cells are not necessarily backed up, hence the OP's problems?
The battery on my phone was on the low side so I connected it to a laptop and checked the provider's website while I was at it, turns out they're about the only one *not* to have some sort of live status update/problem reporting service!

I started preparing a backup power supply for my phone from a spare DC-DC board, some USB adapters and some charged random batteries. :P The power came back on before I needed to use them though. It did get me thinking about it though. A generator is probably not a brilliant solution considering how often it would likely get used (gas powered units are probably better for home standby use than petrol ones because of problems with stale fuel etc), but I'll still consider some form of generation, and maybe some floating batteries for basic lighting + communication. Oh and powering the gas boiler might be worthwhile in case of any lengthy winter cuts, provided the gas supply remains…