Last week Edison Electric decided that they would shut off our power. Apparently, there was a neighborhood in our town that was scheduled to be shut down and were sent letters, but ours was not one of those. So when the power went out, we didn’t know what was going on. After some time went by, Leah called the power company and they weren’t aware of our outage.
After awhile, we called back and they said that our power would be out with the rest of the planned outage, which was scheduled to come back on at 8pm. they said it accidentally was turned off, but I don’t know why they couldn’t accidentally turn it back on.
That evening, Leah went out with some of the pregnant ladies at church to get pedicures and go out to eat. so Micah and I had the afternoon and evening together. The lazy bum slept most of the time. With the electricity being out, it was a nice time to open up the windows, open up a book, and read. When Micah was awake, I got out a radio with batteries and listened to a baseball game and played with Micah on the floor.
The whole afternoon felt very old fashioned. The window and door was open, the lights were off, and you could see your neighbors walking around outside. We found ourselves going outside, talking to neighbors about the outage, finding out what they knew, and playing with the kids in the driveway. It was amazing how without electricity, people naturally started acting like neighbors.
Normally, we’d be shut out to the outside, having our AC running and TV’s on. I never really noticed how much we segregate ourselves, tune in to TV, and tune out to the world immediately around us. This has driven me to think more about doing a cultural cookout with our neighbors. We have Italians, Asians, Lebonese, African-American, and muts like me. It would be nice to have something where people could bring their culture and share it with others. And it would be nice to get to know people in our building.
The evening wasn’t all fun, though. I was sitting with Micah, who was getting tired, and 8pm was approaching. I was sort of just sitting there waiting for the electricity to come on. As 8pm got closer i began to think about what I’d do if the electricity didn’t come on. Then 8pm came and went and I was still sitting in the increasing darkness, thinking I better go look for a flashlight before it gets too dark.
I made my way outside, and was told by a neighbor that our electricity wouldn’t come on until 3am! how do you go from an accidental outage, to 8pm, to 3am?! “Oh, lets just ad 8 more hours to this outage.” So I hustled and got a flashlight, and lit some candles. I was expecting Leah to be back before 8, but they decided to take more time with dinner.
When she did come home, I was just sitting down after getting the candles lit. Our neighbors told us that the time was now moved to 4am. We decided that our frozen foods and some refridgerated foods had to be moved. I packed them up and made a night run to church to put them in the fridge there.
When 4am came and went, I tried turning the light by my bed on to check, and sure enough, nothing… The electricity didn’t end up coming on until 7:30am. And no explanation of why, or even a good explanation of how long.
While it was nice having the electricity off for the afternoon, it was hard dealing with the large enterprise that Edison is. They don’t care about the individual customer. They don’t care that they turn off the electricity for 23 hours without any notification. They don’t care that we had an infant and it was getting to be very hot outside. They never bothered sending people out to talk to people, or even contacting customers to let them know of the changing plans. They were actually supposed to send someone to talk to our landlords, and they ended up sitting around waiting for someone who never came.
And what can we do to make our voice heard? We have no options for electric companies. It’s not like I can take my business elsewhere. But we’re just the little guy and we don’t matter to the big conglomerate.