Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Without power for 4 days and the Saga continues

Last Sunday afternoon, a storm came thorough the area.

Not a bad storm, as far as storms go, with winds up to 80 miles per hour accompanied by some wicked rainfall and some thunder and lightning. This was not a real disaster by any stretch of the imagination.

Unfortunately the storm knocked out power to over 273,000 people in the area and as of today at least 160,000 are still without power.

The current estimate from DTE is that my area will get power back on Friday at 11:45 pm. - over 6 days after the storm struck. I'm not too confident of the estimate, given they underestimated those who were out of power by over 100,000 people.

It is certainly not a strong energy transport infrastructure that can be taken out for almost a week by one relatively minor storm. I had hoped the energy infrastructure people had learned from the 2003 blackout (when we were out of power for 5 days) to make infrastructure more resilient, but that doesn't seem to have trickled down to Oakland County.

On the upside: We had a portable generator that we bought after the 2003 outage.

Downside: It is not working 100% and not putting out enough amps to start the well pump for water. One part is putting out the full and proper 12, the other only 6 instead of 12. So we have some light, the fridge and sump pump work but thats about it. This will be fixed.

Upside: overall the food supplies on hand are adequate and no problem getting to stores for additional supplies. Hand sanitizer rocks and baby wipes, of which we have many on hand, have tons of uses especially when there is no water.

The BBQ with its side burner works like a champ for cooking and reheating food.


1. Clear deficiencies in flashlights, our electric lantern (provided as a gift by Lagniappe's Keeper after the 2003 outage) just died when Abby hit the top of it for some 4-year old exuberant reason as yet undetermined -- but certainly without malice aforethought. It was a good lantern but not very resilient we now need another one.

Plus, some flashlights had been hidden by tiny hands so we only had my surefire for awhile to get things going again and to find the other flashlights.

2. Need more hand sanitizer on hand in the emergency box.

3. More stored emergency water, flashlights, and water filter would be good.

4. Need a hand crank radio or such.

5. Need more gasoline on hand. The 7 gallons or so that we had would not be adequate, we semi-occasionally use it to keep it fresh and got caught at a low point below our normally stored 12 gallons.

6. Need more 5 gallon buckets and a funnel.

7. Probably should have a second propane tank on hand for the BBQ.

On the upside this was an opportunity to test and see if we learned anything from the 2003 outage, and it appears we have. Now if we just had water.....

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