White Lightning Axiom: Redux: Power to the People

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Power to the People

We have been enduring the standard mid-winter east coast rains for three days now. Three days of unending piddling and bone scraping cold that cannot be flushed out no matter how high you turn up the furnace. Ah, the furnace, burning away precious income by the bucket. The rain has had a marginal impact on traffic, but I've not concerned myself much with that. I was assigned to a new project already and my mind is busy digesting that right now. It helps when my attention is diverted from the minor annoyances of life. Keeps the grinding down to a minimum.

Speaking of annoyances, when I got back to the manor last night, I found that we had lost power once again. Well, first time this year. I did not notice this till I opened the 5000 cubic refrigerator and noticed that the light did not come on. Since it was rather chilly in the kitchen, I did not deduce that we had lost power till I saw the LCD clock on the stove was not lit up. This half power loss thing is common among our issues with PECO/Exelon. I immediately made the connection at that moment and darted down to the file room to get the number to report the outage. If you get on this quickly it might be addressed within the next 24 hours. This is the first outage of the year. Hurrah! I interact with the automated emergency phone option witch and have my 'trouble ticket' entered into the system. Little did I know that the problem was more wide-spread than just the manor. I continue preparing the children's dinner with our operating kitchen appliances and then go let the hounds out to do their evening dance of doo-doo. While intently inspecting the ritualistic prancing of the cyber-mammoths, I notice the glaring blue light of a laptop in the front seat of a utility truck up the street a bit. It's about 100 meters away and I become interested. It could be a telephone or water company truck. If they have been doing any work in the area it could explain my problem. I let Katie in (she takes care of her business quickly) and leave Thor to his own devices. I have to remind him every so often why he is outside in the first place ... such a absent-minded behemoth. As I approach the vehicle I find my spirits rising. It's a PECO truck of all things! Ah-hah! I tap gently on the window and explain to the startled minion the problems I've notice. Just then, my ticket pops up on his screen and he suddenly become increasingly interested in my tale of woe. I point to the exact spots on the ground where he will find the line, the switch and the transformer. Each is under a few inches of water except for the transformer which is in a pit ... under about 5 feet of water. This is the same pit I noticed steam wafting skyward like a Nuclear Cooling Tower over the last few days. I thought it was just warm water from a sump pump discharge ... know I know differently.

Early in the morning, the power went out a few more times. Intentionally. There was a giant pump truck and several other vehicles planted about the street where the problem transformer was located. A small army of union men were standing about and taking long drags on cigarettes to warm their lungs and waving in broad circles and the work zone. Eventually, the power was restored and we reset our clocks so we could wake at the crack of dawn. Perhaps they will get around to replacing the whole damn installation ... but I'll wager that the transformer has pcb contaminated oil and they don't want to touch it till absolutely necessary. I'm looking harder at Off Peak Service and Solar Installations now.

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