Who Turned the Lights Out in SA?

It is inevitable that at some point in time you will have a black out. And it will be at the worst possible time like peak hour traffic, or 2 a.m. on a 40 degree night, or just as you’re cooking dinner. After checking to make sure that the safety switch hasn’t been triggered, you realise that you either haven’t paid your electricity bill or you’re in a blackout.

Most people then wait for about 20 minutes to see if it comes on, before ringing the power company’s automated black out line, to find out how long they will be out for. The average is two hours, but on rare occasions as recently experienced it can be for hours leading into days.

What to do? If you or your family are reliant on technology, there will be withdrawal symptoms to cope with. But the best solution is be prepared.

Always have a torch handy, the battery operated lanterns are quite good and candles are a good substitute, but remember not to leave them near anything that can catch fire. A backup generator is not a bad idea to have. But what do you do.

Well you can play board games by torch or candle light. Here’s a novel idea – talk to your family members. I know right, actually talk to them, reconnect. Other games besides board games is story telling. One person starts and says a sentence. Then the next person adds a sentence to what has been said and so on and the story will grow. Another is play the guessing game.. What time will the power come on?

Have a back up method of cooking such as a barbecue or if your house is on gas, then there’s not too much of a problem cooking. Keep the fridges and freezers closed as much as possible to keep the coldness in. Have cans of emergency food which can be eaten cold and don’t require heating.

Side note: As an electrician once told me, they can legally put through as low as 210 volts and as high as 250 volts, to allow for fluctuations that happen. Which is also why appliances wear out a lot quicker.

Causes of blackouts range from extreme weather events like massive thunderstorms. Extreme periods of heat will have them load shed, and as the electrician told me the poorer suburbs get hit with a lot more black outs than the richer suburbs because of that reason – they don’t want the wealthy inconvenienced.

Then there’s the car accidents – when cars run into the stobie poles, or the possums when they fry themselves at the substations, or the termites, when they chew the underground wiring. When the message is ’cause unknown’ – that’s code for the termites, apparently, and of course bush fires.

At the end of the day. We will get black outs, especially during summer so be prepared.

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