Despite being right next to TVA, the nation’s largest government owned supplier of electricity, our region has been experiencing rolling brown-outs and even power losses because of the cold in areas where too many people are using too much power all at once. Primarily this effects that “everyone is getting ready for work” time slot. The power utilities have asked us (us as in everyone, not just Marie and I) to be mindful of our power consumption between 6:00 am and 9:00 am until we get through this extra-cold spell.
We (Marie and I, this time) are doing our part:
- Computer running on battery
- Lights out except where critical
- Heat turned down and wear a sweatshirt
- Unnecessary “appliances” unplugged. Many modern electronic items: TV, cable box, DVD player, radio, coffeemaker, microwave, continue to use electricity even when switched off
The coffeemaker, however, IS a priority and is in use until I finish this carafe.
Rural Living: Blessing or Bane?
I live on a mountainside in a rural area. The largest nearby town is Newport, with a population of around 7,000. Small town. So our area is not being effected as harshly as places like Knoxville with its 190,000 people concentrated into a city. Less demand, fewer outages or brown-outs — as long as were considerate and conserve when when we’re asked to conserve.
The radio news this morning reported that Newport Utilities announced a 14% reduction in power usage because locals cooperated and conserved. That reduction insured that *we* did not experience power interruptions from high demand like Knoxville has.
I recon dem city folks jes ain’t as cooperative as us rural folk.
When our power does go out, repair times vary depending on how remote our location. Where I live isn’t too bad. Power is normally restored in around 30 minutes — unless a pole came down and has to be replaced, that can take a couple of hours. Those folks who live way up in the hills & hollers where miles of wire are strung to service just a handful of homes (or just one) tend to be low on the priority list when repairing storm damaged lines. Power outages due to overuse are often handled remotely, or at worst need a breaker reset.
I have seen some posts on social media from county residents in the more remote areas who lost power, their narrow, winding, mountain roads are iced up so they can’t go far, but can’t stay where they are. In each case, I’ve seen others in the area who still have power saying, “come on over”. Good folks helping one another. Next to a good generator, a good neighbor is the best thing to have in a power outage.