BASSACKWARDS PRIORRITIES (A power outage rant)

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posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 03:43 PM
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I live in the Philly Burbs and like most people in this area, I'm currently suffering through a power outage from all the snow and ice storms we've had over the past few weeks (going on day 4 no power).



The apartment where I live gets its water from a well so when the power goes out, we got NOTHING; no power, no heat and no water. We can't even flush the toilets (ew). Folks say to bring in snow from outside and melt it for the toilets but, its too cold inside for the snow to melt so even that doesn't work.

The thing that's pissing me off about this is the power company's weird set of priorities for getting the power back on. Within hours of the power going out, most of the big shopping centers in my area had their power restored while the residential areas where people have to try to live, remained dark. The Giant supermarket to the South of me had power, the Target and Movie theater in the other direction from me also had power the same day as the storms. Heck, the dive bar just down the street from me and a titty bar a little further down got their power back right away and they are on the same set of power lines as my apartment but, somehow, despite the fact that there are no breaks between there and my house, the power refuses to make its way down to my place. Somehow, magically, the school right behind my house got power while none of the other houses anywhere near it got any. They get their power from the same lines as everyone else but somehow, it managed to bypass all the homes on the way there and only feed the school.

It seems to me that the power company is putting commercial interests way far ahead of the regular guy and they're letting residential neighborhoods suffer while they take care of their big money clients. Over the past few days, I've watched the power get restored to all of the rich, well to do neighborhoods while my area remained dark. Last night, they restored power all over around where I live but, somehow managed to avoid getting power to my house and now, I'm really getting furious!

I have 3 kids and the wife living with me and I've been dealing with a recent cancer diagnosis so my immune system is compromised from the chemo but, the power company could give a damn about my problems. We've lost two goldfish to this power outage, one who's been around for over 3 years (quite an accomplishment for a goldfish) and our 2 cats aren't happy with the cold and the dark either. We borrowed a propane heater last night to keep the temps a little above freezing and our one cat sat in front of it all night long.

Now for the conspiracy theory angle (you shoulda known this was coming on this site):

Right next to the building that my apartment is on is a 24 hour diner that used to play host to tons of utility trucks every time a big storm hit the area. Any time a big storm hit our area, you would see the lot packed with utility trucks as if they were using the diner as their home base or something. In all the years I've lived here, we never lost power for more than a few hours, so long as the utility companies used that diner.

Within the last two years, something changed and I haven't seen any utility trucks there anymore. After Sandy, our area was the absolutely dead last to get its power back on and now, I see it happening again with this storm. I think the owner must have taken away a storm discount (or free food during weather emergencies) for the utility workers or flat out told them not to park their trucks in his lot because of all the potholes it created. Just recently, the owner had the whole lot resurfaced at great expense and he's done everything in his power to limit unnecessary traffic through his lot. I think he did something to tick off the utility company and now we're seeing the payback.

Everything has power restored in my area, even the old Navy Base across the street that's been closed for 5+ years. Everybody has power in my neighborhood except the little strip near the diner. I've sent letters to my state Reps and to the local media regarding my suspicions but, so only one Rep has gotten back to me to assure me that he's sure the utility company would never do anything like that (yeah right).

Anyway, I'm typing this out from my work computer and I'll have to go home to my freezing house soon so wish me well. The utility company said some homes may not get their power back until Sunday. I don't think my 3 remaining fish can make it that long, or my sanity either for that matter.
edit on 2/7/14 by FortAnthem because: Add pic.




posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 03:49 PM
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Hm, how to put this nicely..... From the description you gave it is fairly clear you live in a crappy area. It is common knowledge that resources go out to the areas with the most to lose first.

Aside of that it is also possible that the routing of lines is not as clear as you think it is. I have been in a similar situation many times when I lived in the Mountains. Sometimes a line or switching gear for the lines does things we do not see.

Look at the bright side, if it is that cold inside you should not lose to much food to spoilage.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 03:52 PM
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so many reasons for this, power company gets more money from them to fix there one outage whereas it would take 50 or more homes to equate to a store power consumption. Also keeps people from looting. Seems reasonable to me, but of course frustrating to the people without power.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:00 PM
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Most people would think that restoring power to schools and shopping centers, particularly grocery stores, would be a priority, since people tend to be in short supply of food when something like this hits. That serves everyone who can and needs to get to the store--not just a few people.

And yes, there are likely pressures and politics involved on where the power company goes next. Literally everyone is yelling at them, including you, and whoever yells the loudest probably gets fixed first. I wouldn't want to be them in this fix.

Nor would I want to be you. You have my sympathy. You are obviously totally unprepared for this, and your living situation is in a place that makes it particularly difficult. And so that begs the question. Surely Philadelphia is used to snow. In the absence of screw ups like happened in Atlanta, where they were completely unprepared for a mere two-inch snowstorm, they are probably working as fast as they can. Perhaps this experience will prompt your family to be more prepared next time, including a change of residence that would put you more in control of your own situation vis-à-vis heat, water, and power. Think about it. they may not change, but you can.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:08 PM
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reply to post by schuyler
 


Unfortunately, with my illness and current financial situation, moving somewhere better is out of the question for the time being. Like I said, it used to be a good place to live its just the last two big storms that have left us out in the cold and it seems our area has moved WAY down on the priority list for the local utility company.

Our area has constant wind storms and we're no stranger to harsh winters either. Normally, we won't lose power for more than a few hours or day or so but, recently something has changed. The area I live in isn't that bad and normally gets prompt restoration after something like this. Its just that the last two big outages have me questioning whether the power company isn't targeting my little spot for retaliation because of that diner. The owner can be a real A-hole and it wouldn't surprise me if he had pissed off the power company and they were sticking it to him now.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:16 PM
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So what did you learn from this event? And what are you going to do differently next time?
A minor power outage and you were completely unprepared. And it is probably going to happen again.

Which is why it is in your best interest to prepare for such events. Invest in your future.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:18 PM
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FortAnthem
I live in the Philly Burbs ...

Then I'm not far from you. Our power went out for a bit but came back on. The ice was INTENSE, wasn't it? Our friends up the road haven't gotten their power back on yet. And we are expecting more on Sunday, and then again on Thursday.

Our pipes were frozen up for a while, but they are moving now.

WInter ... gotta' love it, right?


Seriously though .... I'd rather deal with this then the massive heat we had when we lived in Alabama.
I swear the heat fried peoples brains or something down there .... but that's another story.
edit on 2/7/2014 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:20 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Makes sense,

When I was in Fallujah I ran the electricity to our FOB and maintained the generators. My Lt. was a piece of crap, to put it mildly. So for some weird reason, his shack would always lose it's power.


I'm from the Philly Burbs as well, and I've seen the same type of crap go on in my town too.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:23 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


Wow! That sucks!
I'm in PA too. Been there, done that!
But it's been awhile since it was more than a day.
Probably mainly because after the big storm of '93,
that dumped 3 feet on us, the power company
went through & cleared a huge swath along the power lines!!!
Our 75 year old trees that my grandparents planted...thwiiit...gone!!!

Do you live near a Dollar Tree store?
They have double packs of 'Hothands' hand warmers for a buck!
Wear a double pocket shirt & put a couple in the pockets!
When it was so cold here even with our wood burner,
I hated to keep the electric space heaters going all the time.
The hand warmers helped. I even put one in the cats bed, under the blanket!
Heck, you could put them in your bed too!

If you had a metal bucket, you could get some cans of Sterno
to put under it & melt some snow to flush the toilets.
Of course, if you don't mind spending more money,
just use jugs of 'store bought water'.
It probably evens out anyway...what you save on your water bill,
by not using it, you'll spend on bottled water!

My sister just told me about another way to make a 'heater' last night!
She said the Youtube of the clay flower pots didn't get good reviews!
But taking a large metal coffee can, put in a roll of toilet paper,
minus the cardboard tube. Soak it in rubbing alcohol & light it.
A metal bucket would probably work here too,
as metal coffee cans are pretty scarce!
Just remember about ventilation! Probably burning alcohol isn't too toxic,
but it still would give off CO2! Chemistry wasn't my best subject!!!
If you are still at work you could look it up.

I haven't looked it up yet, didn't think to ask how much alcohol to use,
just soak the roll or dump the whole bottle in?
She didn't know how long it was supposed to burn either.
I guess she made them for her kids to keep in the car trunk,
in case they were ever stranded on the road in the winter!
I wonder how many of the people stuck on the road in Atlanta last week,
wished they had it in their trunk to try out???

Good luck, hope it's back on sooner than they are saying!
WOQ



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:26 PM
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Far from being an expert but power is on a grid. We had power of for days. called in crews from out of state. Kudos to them, was Christmas

Now say you are in charge of the work, You can work on powering up 5000 people, 2 stores and a titty bar or ..12 homes.

Make the call



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by allenidaho
 


Thank you for your response. I learned I am not prepared but wont spend my time bitching at the power company.
Any body bitching at the power company is mad their welfare benefits didnt come through or the checkdidnt come in cuz somebody didnt clean off the mailbox



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


May I make a suggestion?

You mentioned that it is too cold inside your house, to be able to melt snow for use as toilet water, and for other sundry uses. I do not know how much wood, paper, and other burnable crap you have lying around your home and property, but I would recommend you try the following, assuming you have a back yard or yardspace of any sort.

This may require some good old fashioned scavenging...

Find a metal container, like a big cookpot. Take it outside, and fill that sucker with as much snow as you can. Dig out a space in the snow about a meter in diameter, this is important, as you want as little snow immediately close to your fire as possible. Find some busted bits of masonry, breeze block, or cinder block works well. Stuff like that can be found in near enough any run down neighborhood, especially if there are abandoned properties in poor physical condition near you. Place your blocks on the ground, in the middle of the patch you have dug out. Make sure you clear as much snow as possible from between these blocks. The blocks need to be about half the width of your big pot apart, so as to make sure it balances, and to give a fire room to breathe beneath the pot, and between the blocks (which will also keep the wind from messing your firebase up too much).

Find some burnable stuff. You know, wood, paper, old magazines, anything that is dry enough to burn. Obviously it would be best to use something that is dense enough that it will burn consistently, and produce embers which can be kept warm for repeated use. Make a fire between your breeze blocks, and place your big pan of snow on top of that. You will note that as the snow melts off, the volume of the snow will reduce, and you can put more in. Keep chucking snow in the pan, until you have a full pan of water. If you keep the pan steady, and do not spill water on your fire, you will be able to melt up enough snow to flush your toilet, wash, and so on.

You can use the water how you like, but that would be good way to get some.

ETA: Noted your immune suppressed state, which would preclude you doing this yourself on anything like a regular basis, but if you have others living with you, then perhaps they would wish to attempt it?
edit on 7-2-2014 by TrueBrit because: Noted important detail.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 04:48 PM
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edit on 7-2-2014 by rockoperawriter because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 05:03 PM
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Or if the Home depot is open now...maybe a small gas genny to put out on the balcony?
Put snow in black plastic bags and hang in the sun?
|In berlin during the power outages due to allied bombers, they used to run the water in the sink to power a bycycle generator with a paddle wheel on it...not much light, but it helps keep the pipes from freezing too.....
A fortyfive gallon drum makes a good fire holder outside....gets the neighbours together too
(or the homeless for that matter......)
Good luck with the whole mess....my boat is frozen into the ice this morning andf a sparrow froze to the ice and is resting in the focsole..hope its gonna make it....
But i am so far north of you i feel guilty its not more fridged here than there....
Maybe you could have a talk with aNY STRAY POWER WORKERS YOU MEET IN FUTURE, AND FIND OUT WHATS THEIR BEEF WITH THE COFFEE SHOP
MY 2CENTS



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 05:15 PM
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Sorry to hear and hope it is dealt with soon, as it sounds downright unacceptable. Would contact all, as mentioned possibly involved from landlord and of course to the power company to keep up with what is going on. There's one time use(light-able charcoal) grills and of course propane grill stoves if you have not utilized them already, also portable generators(?), and car batteries(if not froze out) for added lightening and possibly heat help.

Best of luck.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 05:41 PM
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Thanks everyone who responded with your suggestions.

The power came back on just before I left from work and the house is starting to warm back up now. I'm still pissed the whole neighborhood had power this morning but, we didn't get it back 'till almost 5:30 PM. Its been a long week, especially since its pay week and I've been basically broke all week waiting for payday so I couldn't even run out for emergency supplies or eat out food (it been PB&J dinners most of the week).

I'll probably invest in some type of portable heater and stock up on batteries for the next time something like this happens and, if we get any advance notice, I'll fill the bathtub so we have something to flush with. Didn't think the rain after all that snow would be this bad so we weren't prepared this time.

They're predicting up to a foot of snow this weekend so I may have to go through it all over again soon. Wheeeee!



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 06:46 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 

I'm so glad to hear some good news. I don't live in your area, I live in FEMA Region 5, but all day I kept thinking and wondering about the Philly souls with still no power. I'm so spongily empathic, and it hurts me to know of situations like yours.



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:19 PM
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reply to post by FortAnthem
 


I have restored power in many natural disaster situations (no ice storms) and the process is the same at every utility. There are in fact priority feeders that come out from every substation. They are specifically for hospitals, fire depts police stations and essential services. These are not politically determined. If you're lucky enough to be served on one of them you'll be back in service fairly quickly. If not, you'll get your service back based on a number of factors. They fix the feeders (about 1500 homes) with the least amount of damage first and work outward from the substation in a grid pattern. The last phase of restoration is restoring laterals (about one block of homes), and transformers about (4 to 7 homes). It sounds like you're on a lateral with damage so it could take a while before they work out to you. Having been in a position to tell people like yourself that we can't get you back on for sometime is not pleasant, especially when children and medical conditions are involved. Those guys are doing dangerous work for 16 to 18 hours a day. Don't be too hard on them. As one of the other posters said, think about the things you'll need to get by next time this happens. Here in Florida everyone stocks up in essentials at the first hint of a hurricane.
edit on 7-2-2014 by bladerunner44 because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-2-2014 by bladerunner44 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 04:06 AM
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I've had the same thing. There's different lines . Some get put back on , others wait. If there's fallen lines or trees down , it takes longer or it's too dangerous for them to go out in the storms.

If every single home around you has power and you don't, you might want to call and ask why.



posted on Feb, 8 2014 @ 07:46 AM
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AWE.... poor baby........

Where were you guys in 2011 when 890K of us were without power for 3 weeks or more after the October Nor'Easter? OH THAT IS RIGHT.. Pennsylvania was one of the states that REFUSED to send help to New England, where we have this time sent CL&P line crews down to help you guys because we do think it's that important.. Hell even companies in Pennsylvania were telling us the outage was "our fault" and refusing deliveries to our hard hit areas until we got the lights back on.

I'm sorry if it sounds harsh, but, when you have a state like yours that refused to help us when we were all but begging and pleading (and I think some of our towns were doing that even) you cannot expect us to have sympathy when you are going through the same damn thing AND WE ARE sending help...

Luckily for us, the Canadians weren't as anal and sent line crews to us and we were eventually fixed... (Comcast, a Pennsylvania company wouldn't even give people credit for the fact we couldn't use our cable during the outage, as they put it "The lights are on here in Philly, why should we lose all that money just because you guys can't plan properly") I also seem to remember people from Pennsylvania on here saying the poor baby comments to us as we tired in vain to get the news out...

No sympathy this time, sorry....





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