By Denis G. Campbell
We take electricity for granted until… it’s not there. Living in rural, coastal Wales, there are miles of overhead telephone lines that run from the ground power transmitting station I see about a half mile from the house. Being at the end of that very long transmission line, we can be the only property without power as it follows a circuitous route over about 20 poles.
In previous years it would take hours if not days for the guys with trucks emblazoned with the Western Power logo to slog across, around and through meadows, mud and water to find the source of the problem and gradually power us back up (Scotty!).
Last night we had the second biggest coastal wind and rain storm in my 7-years here in Wales. Sustained winds were 60+ miles per hour, gusts to 75+ it was a rough night here on the farm. My wind anemometer broke off and flew away at 78.
Three times late last night the power failed, however, the systems they have undoubtedly invested time, money and energy into perfecting did what they were supposed to do. In seconds, they tried three times to re-start and re-route power around the problem area and every time on the third try, the house electricity fired itself back to life. Compare and contrast to five years ago when they would try and almost always fail.
This was a banner night for the home team. There is an engineering team sitting satisfied that their hours, weeks and years were finally put to the test and they passed. High-fives and pints (even at 8:00 am, this is Wales) go to those running that show. Engineers rarely get public kudos and always get the blame when something goes wrong. Yet we rely on them and their patient persistence to isolate themselves from the screaming, teeming masses and figure out the problem, then fix it. So hug an engineer today. He or she rarely gets that.
Yes, I will get angry with you the next time it fails and congrats to all for a job well done on a hellish night. I am certain you will remain busy all day after fixing and slowly re-routing power back to those stuck, but you did well. My $140 a month was well-earned this night.