I don’t think that I have quite beaten this old horse to death just yet, so excuse me while I give it one more shot. This is part of living in rural Vermont. The more distant you are from the town center the more it happens. Power outages.
November 9, 1965: It was a bright, moonlit evening as a breaker in western New York tripped and caused an overload in other parts of the state which hit New York City especially hard, overloading circuits and causing 30 million people in 7 states and 2 Canadian provinces to lose power. I was 12 and my sister had turned 15 the day before. We lit some candles, looked down at Main Street from our High Street vantage point in Chester, and noted that there were no lights there, either. No one had anything like an emergency electrical generator at the time unless it was a hospital or certain radio stations close to nuclear power plants. Vermont Yankee didn’t go online for another 7 years, so no radio stations in Brattleboro had generators. Oh well, our mother sent us to bed and when we got up in the morning power had been restored.
Until I bought my rural Windham County home on a hill I never experienced power outages with the frequency and duration that I have here. The reason? An overlooked power line that runs through the woods from Chester to Grafton and Rockingham gets overgrown. If you have a freezer with more than $50 worth of food in it that you don’t want to lose, you need a generator where we live. I got my first one when we had an eight-day power outage due to an ice storm in 2008. You couldn’t buy a generator anywhere in southern Vermont or New Hampshire so I called my biological father in Fairfax, Vermont and he got one at a hardware store in St. Albans. I met him in Berlin a couple of hours later and we made it through. We were so grateful for him saving the day.
Two of my neighbors have automatic generators that immediately kick on when they sense a power outage. Other neighbors have no generators. When we had power outages that lasted more than an hour I would fire up our generator and run helter-skelter assortments of extension cords from the garage into and all through the house. It was chaos but it worked well. Finally, I had my electrician wire in a device that had an outside plug that allowed me to attach a cable to the generator that fed directly into our breaker box for cord free operation in the house.
Last year I bought a dual fuel propane-gasoline remote electric start generator with enough power output to run a couple of houses in a pinch. It resides in my fireproof steel garage. While it doesn’t kick on automatically like my two neighbors, all I need to do is run the cable over to the side of my house, plug it in, and hit a start button and we’re back in business.
Now I hear that our power company can supply us with a super reliable Tesla battery backup unit that gives you about 4 hours of power. You can pay for it upfront or they’ll bill you monthly for it. We have friends who have one and they love it. Even with a generator, I can see the value behind having both, so we’re considering it. Isn’t technology great?
Yes, it is, so maybe they can apply some older tech, ie: chainsaws and brush cutters to that section of woods that keeps growing up near our rural corner. That way we can avoid power outages in anything over a 7 mph headwind.