Pavlov’s dog and that hydro crowd

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This Newfoundland Power-NL Hydro crowd has got me in such a state, it’s put me off my food.
I s’pose it started in January with the rolling and unplanned blackouts. (We had both kinds.)
There are only so many things you can heat up on the manifold of your car.

I can still smell the fish and it smelled a lot better when it was cooking than the chunk that fell in beside the engine does now when the car warms up.

It all started yesterday morning when I heard on VOCM that the power crowd was almost at their limit, and they needed us to conserve.

I don’t waste power. My father taught me that.

“Turn off the lights,” he’d say. “We can’t afford the juice, sure.”

So, all day I waited fully expecting the power to go off.

Every time there was a pause on the Open Lines, and every time a cloud went across the sun, I thought she was gone. I waited ready to spring into action, like Pavlov’s dog.

Sure enough, she went … at 6 p.m., just as my wife had sot a vessel on the stove for supper.

We got the emergency lights set up, turned on the battery-powered radio and waited for the “rolling” to stop. Finally at 10 p.m. it was so cold we went to bed. At 4 a.m., I got up and still no power.

I tried to get on the Internet to check NL Power’s planned blackouts. I couldn’t get on.

I decided to call them and find out when it might come back.

They answered promptly and the nice man told me that there was no outage in Placentia.

“Well sir,” I wanted to say, “my eyes are open, all I see is what you see when you close yours, so I’m pretty sure the power is off!”

I didn’t, though, as I am trying to keep the blood pressure down.

“Did you check your panel to see if the breaker is on?”

“No,” says I … like you would.

So I went to the panel, praying to myself, “Let there be light!”

I flipped the breaker, “and there was light!”

Don’t know why it flipped off. We have had everything upgraded during the remodelling before Christmas. Proper electrician. No shortcuts. No overloads.

Another thing my father used to say was, “What you fear most will surely come upon you.”

Now I’m worried that the nice man at NL Power can read my mind, and knows that I was about to question the marital status of his parents when he said, “Did you check your panel?”

And he was a nice man, too, so he was.

Laurie (Grandpa) Blackwood-Pike


Organizations: Open Lines

Geographic location: Placentia

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Recent comments

  • Winston Adams
    March 21, 2014 - 09:57

    When the power is off for several hours, and comes back on, you use more power than before as everything is cold and on at maximun capacity to catch up. Programable thermostats can make this worse. Nevertheless, your panel may have got overloaded and tripped the main breaker, something to check on. Also check if the screw terminals are a bit slack, as this can overheat the breaker. What happened is abnormal and needs to be checked, and is more likely to show up after a long outage

  • Maurice E. Adams
    March 21, 2014 - 08:52

    Very well written (and very much enjoyed how you were tactfully able to bring good humour into a serious situation). I wonder did whatever cause your breaker to switch off also cause some people's bill to go sky high?

    • Dolf
      March 21, 2014 - 15:29

      I too couldn't help but openly smile at his choice of words. Call again Grandpa, I'd love to hear whatever you have to say, especially if it's as clever as this. Thanks.

    • L Blackwood Pike
      March 23, 2014 - 08:13

      Had an electrician in. He says power failure no fault of any equipment in the house. NL Power came on Friday to check the outside wiring. They said everything was normal, but they did use the cherry picker to change some wires at the pole, and some wires at house. Guess it was an act of God.