First the rain and then the wind. Caught between farms this past weekend, it was a quick dash to get under cover. A storm was brewing.
What followed next was gale force winds, heavy pelting rain and possibly some hail. The steel roof on the shop echoed for 20 minutes and then it was over. The aftermath was less severe than expected in our little corner of the world, with only a few severed tree limbs laying about and no hydro.
Anecdotally in Wellington County, some homeowners saw hydro return close to supper time Saturday. Others waited 32 hours for service to resume and some did not have service three days later. In other parts of Ontario, people remain without hydro several days later. Ten deaths have been blamed on the storm that seemed to come from nowhere. According to a CBC report, as of Tuesday, 150,000 homeowners have yet to see hydro service return, which authorities claim could take days if not weeks.
Some years ago, when the hydro went out, we swore a generator was on the list of must-haves. Water two feet deep in the basement without a functioning sump pump has a way of encouraging a plan B in the event of outages. Despite the relatively decent weather after the storm cleared, we flipped the switch and hooked up the gear, thinking it far wiser to test it now rather than wait for an ice storm or the dead of winter.
Everything worked like a charm. The genset from Elmira way coupled with the old John Deere did a great job of running what was needed in the house. We had water, the fridges and freezers were kept cool and for the most part life was normal. A text from a neighbour let us know the power was back on and the experiment concluded five hours after it began.
The kids are currently at an age where they need to start learning about life rather than just playing games and having fun. They have helped tremendously outside this spring, between gardens, landscaping and doing things that require more agility than this old scribe cares to muster. At supper I decided to introduce “the math” and talk about what the afternoon cost.
In a nutshell, we burned through a quarter tank of fuel to run the house and shop. In very round terms it was about $60 in fuel with nothing factored in for wear and tear let alone capital cost. The punch line to that math was working back a typical hydro bill for the month and understanding that afternoon would have cost around $2 typically.
While few like to pay any more than they have to, we have pretty awesome lifestyles based on access to power. The convenience of gadgets and tools or the calming nature of stable heating and cooling are creature comforts in every sense. Two bucks – what a bargain.
It goes without saying, public utility workers are doing their very best to get the province’s grid running again. We hope those who suffered great damage and have yet to see power return get relief as soon as possible. For the rest of us, let’s make a point of taking stock of how good it is having hydro in our homes and place of business.