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Alex Has Opinions on Power Outages


The long weekend was marred by a rather long power outage.

This isn’t out of the ordinary out here – our grid isn’t the best out in the wild woods of Ontario, but this was intense. It was cut around three in the afternoon Saturday – Pembroke didn’t receive power until about ten at night, which Beachburg had no power until nearly Monday. Some places in Ottawa will take weeks to clean up from the series of thunderstorms that wracked the province and shut down our power.

Living in the country, outages can be devastating. Freezers mean that we have have thousands of dollars in food bought on the promise that it will not spoil, which doesn’t last when the freezer can’t pump it’s chilling gas through its metallic veins.

Disasters like this aren’t terribly rare. A fire at a lumber yard in Pembroke took out that city’s power for an entire day; in the first year I worked at this paper I found myself delayed in deliveries due to a huge outage that affected the Cobden and Forester’s Falls regions for hours. The latter was weather-related, I believe.

With the climate utterly scrambled due to corporate negligence and greed, we stand to see more of these erratic weather patterns.

With the price of gas so high nowadays, it’s not really viable to fill up in anticipation of a loss. Pumps don’t work without power, meaning that emergency fuel usage can leave one stranded.

I was lucky. I spent the evening at a generator-powered home. But not all of us are well-off enough to be able to afford an emergency generator like that. And while it didn’t hit us as hard as Ottawa, that they are still picking up the pieces is a grim reminder of how easy our lives can grind to a halt without the lightning in a wire.

I imagine it’s far more complicated to prevent such disasters, as power grids are fragile things. I hope it didn’t ruin anyone’s weekend too badly.