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Outage should remind us how lucky we are

Clean, reliable electricity is something we take for granted, but shouldn’t
For Your Consideration

It’s kind of scary to think that our electrical grid could be taken down by mere mischief.

Last week, some 10,000 BC Hydro customers from Quick to the Hazeltons were without power for nearly 11 hours. The utility could not provide an official cause, but suspects it was probably someone taking out insulators on a remote line.

Kudos to Hydro crews for finding and repairing the damage as quickly as they did. And truly, we should be thankful the grid is as reliable as it is.

If it was, in fact, vandalism, shame on the person, or persons, who did it. It’s not just the inconvenience — and really, eleven hours, most of it overnight, should have been a piece of cake for most people — but it could be dangerous and/or costly.

LAST TIME: Robert (Bob) Martin Barker, Aug. 15, 1938 - June 14, 2020

For example, it just so happened when the power was cut, my phone was almost out of juice. Had I not had an alternative means of charging it and had an emergency of some kind, I would not have been able to call 9-1-1.

If the outage been for an extended period of time, people with freezers could lose hundreds of dollars worth of food.

Events such as this are a good reminder of the importance of being prepared.

Fortunately for me, my oh-so-humble abode came pre-prepared.

I didn’t even realize the power went out until I noticed the warning came up on my phone to plug in the charger and when I plugged it in it didn’t start charging.

Pretty much everything else in my place continued working without missing a beat

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future

My lights automatically switch over to battery power.

My stove and oven run on propane.

My refrigerator/freezer and water heater automatically switch over to propane.

I also use propane as a backup for and as supplementary heat, so if it had been winter, I would have been OK there too.

Really, the only impact it had on me was having to change my entertainment plans for the evening. I had been in the mood for a little NetFlix (Sons of Anarchy Season 2), but instead played guitar for a few hours, went to bed early and woke up to restored power.

A power outage is also a good reminder of just how fortunate we are.

As of 2019, 940 million people (13 per cent of the world) did not have access to electricity whatsoever.

Three billion people (40 per cent) still use solid fuels (coal, wood etc.) for cooking. Inconvenient, yes, but it also has health ramifications from indoor air pollution.

In many places in the world that do have electricity, it is intermittent at best.

And, of course, access to clean, reliable energy is based on income. Even the worst off among us is way better off than most of the world.

Having access to clean, reliable electricity is something we take for granted, but we shouldn’t.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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