Friday, 28 March 2008

Wha-? Who turned out the lights?!

There I am, 23:40 or so, watching "Falling Down" on ITV4 (Freeview), and all of a sudden, everything goes dark. I also realise that everything's gone exceptionally quiet as well. No refrigerator chiller unit sounds, no mains-powered clock ticking. nothing. As quiet and dark as the grave. Great, thinks I. Sodding fusebox is on the blink.

Then it dawns on me that there's no light from the street lights coming in from the windows. Oops. Not good. First, find a torch. So, I slowly, carefully, made my way to the bedroom, and fumbled around for the torch I keep on my desk in the corner.

It went something like this... Fumble fumble juggle blindly - of course blindly, there ain't no bleedin' light to be had! - nearly dropped the sucker - ah, got it! Let there be light!

I have a rather decent SureFire Nitrolon G2. Great torch. Not so great if you aren't thinking when you turn the sucker on, of course. 65 Lumens of pure OUCH THAT HURT in the eyes. I wound up standing there for a full minute blinking rapidly, having been staring onto the business end when I turned the blasted thing on. D'OH.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I found EDFs number in the phone book, called them up (one of the few 0800 numbers left, I suspect, cheers guys :) Keep the number going!), got answered in nothing flat, told them where I was, and that we'd got a power cut, to be told the wonderful news that many tens of thousands of homes were without power across the borough. Oh 'eck.

Well, he'd been very helpful and efficient, had volunteered information rather than having to be squeezed like a stone for it, so I thanked the lad for the info, and before I could ask how long it'd be before we got power back, the lad on the other end told me they'd been relaxing watching the telly (I didn't ask if it was Falling Down he'd been watching!), when all hell cut lose on the phone - and I was the fiftieth one he'd answered from the same rough area, that they had their engineers trying to figure out what'd happened already, and that they'd get the power back on asap. All in one breath.

Fair enough, thought I, thanked the harried lad, and let him get on with the other several thousand calls on his board. Who the heck knew that a Michael Douglas movie was being watched by so many folks so late at night?!

Anyhow, I decided I needed to get out of the flat for a while, and dropped in on a mate who's another night owl like me (Since we're both radio hams, I called him on the radio first of course, I'm not a completely arrogant wotsit!), and when I got back, about four hours after the power cut, I found the power restored. Well done, EDF! Quick, effective, and little fuss :)

Now if only other firms could learn from that example!

EDIT: Seems the power cut made the news, at least locally... News Shopper

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