We had a widespread power outage yesterday that affected a large chunk of the Province. There were pockets of the city that had power which led to a lot of people congregating in those parts - and a lot of people going for coffee because they couldn't go anywhere or do anything else. But there was no panic, no misbehaving, no looting, no rioting in the streets and no blaming the power utility - all very Canadian behaviour. I don't know where people get the idea that during emergencies that all h*** breaks loose. I have yet to witness anything resembling such.

I (ahem!) work for the power company so I had the inside scoop on the outage situation. smile I knew the outage was going to be several hours due to 3 major power plants tripping off. We had major amounts of hoarfrost and the line sags caused voltage drops which in turn caused network instability which led to the power plants tripping. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that practically everyone's power was restored in 13 hours! Major props to my co-workers.

I noticed a few things - I took all my electronics and topped up their charge via my vehicle. I purchased a 15,000 mAh power bank as well and threw that in my day pack. I have 4 charging ports (1-115v, 3-12v of which one is unswitched). I picked up some large unscented candles because I was short of them and I also grabbed some cash at a working ATM. I had a full tank of gas so I didn't need to top up.

It wasn't very cold (only -9C) and little wind. You southerners might disagree with me about the temps but we have very highly insulated buildings and are used to -40 stuff. It could have been a lot worse with the temperatures and buildings would have cooled off a lot quicker. I turned my thermostat up so that when the power came back on, the furnace fan would be able to kick in, and it would "overheat" my condo. There was no guarantee that the power would stay on and could drop out again. I have camping stoves and my BBQ that I could fire up and cook with.

Some of my co-workers who have acreages outside the city had other issues. No power meant no pump for their well water and ergo only 1 toilet flush before you ran out! frown What's the old saying - "If its brown, flush it down. If its yellow, let it mellow."

No power also meant no Internet for my laptop because the service provider had to reset some of their switches. I could not even remote access my work servers because of this. The outage was long enough (9 hours) that it also meant people could not buy gas at most stations or did not have enough fuel for their emergency generators or that battery back-up systems were being pushed to their limits. Cell-phone traffic was up but the networks didn't seem to have any issues.

Traffic was at times a bit silly. Honestly, I think somebody hands out "stupid pills" to drivers. When the power is out, the traffic lights are out and that means you have to treat all of those intersections as a 4-way stop. Some people were extra cautious and didn't get the sequence right of when to move. But the people who annoyed me the most were the ones who drove right through the intersection without even slowing down or checking for cross traffic! One annoyed "gentleman" gave me the stink eye after I correctly stopped at the intersection!

The biggest thing was the realization of how much we rely on electricity to do so much and how pervasive it is in our everyday lives. Sometimes we need these reminders.