Localized Power Outage

So here I am, sitting outside using the last of my laptop battery and accessing the internet via my neighbor’s wifi.

There was a small power outage around 4PM tonight in Silverlake. Probably a dozen houses are included in the rampant darkness and oppressive stillness in the air.

DWP hasn’t budged much, it took about 4 hours for them to actually respond that it was a verified problem. Since then they said that they’d dispatched a crew, but we’ve seen no crew crawling around in the back yards of those affected.

I miss my electricity and if they give it back to me, I promise I won’t use much. (I admit that I did actually turn on the air conditioner this afternoon for the first time ever while it was still light out.)

UPDATE: As of this morning a crew still hasn’t been dispatched. There are about 20,000 people in LA County without power in many different areas. They have to prioritize and this little pocket of 20 houses isn’t that high on their list. This is the second time this year we’ve been without power for more than 12 hours.

UPDATED UPDATE: At around 10 AM we returned from breakfast at Astro to find our street filled to the brim with four DWP trucks (two with bucket cranes!). Of course all the vehicles are useless as the transformer that needs to be replaced is on a pole in our second-neighbor-over’s back yard … down a very steep hill.

Two hours since then … the crew has been up on the pole but has yet to remove the old transformer. But they’re here! They’re here! (I’m going to take them popsicles later!)

UPDATED UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Power was back on by 2PM. Fans a whirring, the ambient temp in my house at 10PM was still 90 degrees. So much for the belief that electricity makes things better.

6 Replies to “Localized Power Outage”

  1. It happened over here in Los Feliz, too–but only on the trendy side of Vermont. As we had already picked up our mail, wandered down to the Red Line, and made our way from there–via the 212 to somewhat south L.A.–we nevertheless managed to just barely avoid the blackout (although, being a former New Yorker, I can tell you about blackouts and the resultant parties, such as the one we had a few years ago in Brooklyn as well as LES). Oh, and this video occurred, one which, owing to Gerald Ford’s stamp being issued and the blackouts occurring, is too damn coincidental: http://www.thebusbench.com/2007/09/fordstamp.html

  2. ***warning: lengthy comment –
    – we have frequent power outages in my area; the brewery complex/surrounding communities.
    frequent, but not normally for long. we did have a rather lengthy one a bit ago.
    being in e-quake country, i’ve got power outage plug-ins, multiple flashlights, etc. (my now-ex used to ridicule me *before* the ’94 quake for such preps. but expressed gratitude after when he was the only one w/useful stuff and outage lights).

    by contrast; my uncle in a suburb of cleveland, oh., who’d just gotten home from the hospital was completely taken aback by an extremely localized short outage. 10:30p – 2a.
    no emergency outage light sources, had to navigate w/walker in pitch-darkness when nature called, only the voice of his wife in another room to navigate by… imagined the worst (wide-spread terrorist cause)…
    SO:
    1) if you don’t have an emergency kit, @ least have a flashlight and cel at hand. (you could cel as a flashlight if need be).
    1a) comprise emergency kit!
    2) make sure any friends/relatives/those you care about that need prep help get it.

    as for me; i’ll be rebuilding my emergency/quake kit & fastening bookcases, etc.

    be well & take care.

  3. Kristen – good reminders!

    We also have regular power outages. I have at least a dozen working flashlights in the house. (One by each side of the bed even.) Water, canned goods and a pretty good med kit. We try to keep our prescriptions up to date so that we have extras on hand (though in an emergency allergy pills aren’t essential).

    Oh, and never let yourself run too low on pet food!

  4. I live in Valley Village (north of Studio City) and the power went out in five houses on our block of Morella Avenue, and the five houses behind us on Carpenter Avenue at 2:34pm on Saturday (Sept. 1). Neighbors started making calls to DWP to report the outage. We all suffered through the first night of our interiors hovering in the 90s. We sought relief however we could. At 4:30 Sunday afternoon, 3 DWP trucks showed up, a workman climbed the power pole in my next door neighbor’s back yard and threw a switch on the transformer. The power was back on! The trucks drove away and within two hours we blacked out again. Same ten houses, leading us to believe we have a defective (proabably old) transformer that needs to be replaced. Once again we started placing calls to the DWP and every one of us was told that the problem had been resolved, that the power was on. And each one of us explained that yes, it wad been temporarily restored, but that it was, indeed, now off again. What we learned over the next 30 hours is two things: we were a small outage, so we were a low priority; and that if the DWP solves the problem and restores power (even temporarily) when the power goes out again, it’s a new outage, and you go back to the bottom of the priority list. And we were each given a variety of interesting responses, each different from the other and varying in degrees of truth. We kept calling the DWP and by Monday afternoon, as temperatures in the sun were around 110, my neighbors gathered in the shade of a tree in my front yard (it was only 100 degrees there), each of us on a cell phone, we started calling the news media. Around 6pm, KTLA drove up with Chip Yost, a reporter and his cameraman, and interviewed a few of us and discussed our concerns and experiences coping with a power outage in this kind of heat (kids getting sick, tropical fish dying, elderly pets having trouble breathing, food in refrigerators going bad). Power was finally retored at midnight Monday night. In all, we were more than 55 hours without electricity during the hottest weekend of the year.

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