Power: The Lack Thereof

In the normal world, that is to say the one outside of Ireland in which logic is used, things like electricity grids are built with more than one plug point on them. This enables men with high visibility jackets to do all sorts of complex things without putting half the county in the state all those carbon obsessives want us to live in at all times.

The first summer I lived in Ireland, every other Thursday I was treated to a power cut from 9am until 6pm. At first it was deeply annoying. By October I hated the ESB deeply. I still do.
The trouble with the loss of power is not just that everywhere is dark and you can’t have the heating on; when you live in a field as I do it also means a lack of water, which I rather carelessly require in order to live.
Here in rural Ireland we don’t bother with such modern conveniences such as mains water. We shun such highbrow technological inventions and opt for our own individual wells. If you are lucky this means pure, cool mineral water delivered fresh to your glass by the pump faeries. If you are unlucky (or me) it means geological based universal vindictiveness and a bloody expensive filtering system to get rid of the iron deposits.

Of course, we don’t just lose power when somebody intentionally turns it off because a new house needs connecting to the grid. We also lose power frequently because somebody has been messing with a JCB and has dug up some vital cabling. New Ross was out for an hour last week. At one point the ESB threatened a “name and shame” campaign against the most frequent offenders because Wexford Town was becoming permanently off.

We also lose power when there is a thunderstorm. Over the summer the power station got hit by lightning and everybody was off for hours. I lived in the UK for, oh gosh, ages and can’t remember there ever being a power cut because of a thunder storm. Have these Irish never heard of a lightning rod?
The other casualty of thunder over the summer was half the telephone exchange and my modem after a bolt to my own electricity pylon. Trust me when I say there is no worry like the worry of a computer telling you it had to shut down due to a Thermal Event.

Occasionally, we also lose power if there is a lot of rain, wind, snow, sun, cloud or pigeon. It isn’t just the electricity either. At a conservative estimate, my telephone has fallen over 87 times over the last 6 months because there was some rain and the wires in the exchange got a bit damp. When I call the nice people at BT, they either tell me there isn’t a problem or tell me to unplug everything from the sockets to allow the system to reset itself. I’ve given this one a lot of thought and decided it is technological guff to make me go away and stop bothering them. I don’t mind though. I like BT. I like them because they aren’t Eircom who are the greatest shore of langers you will ever deal with in you life.

Anyway. Today I had the pleasure of an enforced power cut. It was cold. It was dark. They didn’t reconnect me until an hour after they said they would. I was not happy.

0 comments: