Saturday, June 16, 2012


Over the past week Perth has been beset with some rather bad storms.  There was even a tornado that did  severe damage to homes in Dianella and Morley, much localised flooding and loss of power to thousands of homes.  Hundreds of wooden power poles were blown over which meant there were also power lines down too.

Our area was quite unscathed apart from the odd branch off a tree here and there but....the power in our house began to do something quite strange.  Just after 7pm on the Sunday night while we were watching TV the lights dimmed and the TV acted rather strangely.  The light then brightened but we turned the TV off as we didn't know exactly what was happening.

The standard lamp would be quite bright for about 2 minutes and then would dim to less than half power for 30 seconds or so.  This continued right through the evening and we found we could have a light globe or two on but there was not sufficient power to light the fluorescents in the kitchen.  We tried boiling our electric jug and the power went completely until the jug was turned of

Fortunately we had a tiny gas stove and there was gas in the cylinder so next morning we were able to have a cuppa but had a cold breakfast which was OK.  We realised that perhaps the fridge wasn't working at full capacity even though its light was on so we couldn't really rely on any foodstuffs in it.

On the Monday morning I rang Synergy and was transferred to Western Power and I explained to the man who answered what was happening.  He said "that means they are working in the area".  I thought it a little strange that they would be working for well over 12 hours but thought with so much power loss this must indeed be the case.

By mid-afternoon that day I began to wonder why the light was still doing its 2 minutes on 30 seconds off so once again I rang to report the fault.  This time the man actually took it as a fault and gave me a fault number but explained with so many thousands of homes without power it would be next morning before anything was done about our problem.

Mid-morning on Tuesday I really began to think serioiusly about this fault of ours and had MOH pop over to neighbours whose homes were connected to the same power pole as ours and see how they were getting on.  He came back to say that neither of their homes had been affected and they had full power. On his way back MOH had looked up at the top of the power pole and noticed a single wire was broken and swaying in the breeze.  Could this be the problem perhaps?

I once again rang the authority and explained that the neighbours were not experiencing the problem we had and that we had noticed this broken wire on top of the pole.  I was told something would be done ASAP but I had to realise how busy they were.  We were not trying to jump the queue but as it was only a problem at our place all the work in other areas was not going to solve what was happening at our place and I tried to explain it was nothing to do with problems in nearby suburbs.

By mid-afternoon I asked MOH that he be the one to ring this time and this he did.  He got a young woman this time who once again explained how busy they were and we would be attended ASAP.
At about 5pm a young chap arrived, put his ladder up against the pole and began to mend that broken wire.  It was obviously broken in the high winds during the storms but in fact was nothing to do with the widespread power outages in nearby areas.  He explained it was the neutral wire that had broken and we were lucky we hadn't got shocks from the taps in the house.  Fortunately the house is well earthed and we do have surge protection in the meter box.

We checked all was well by plugging in and turning on the electric jug and when the power stayed on we knew it had been fixed.  We thanked the young man very much and he went on his way.  He said he had been told to go home as he had worked 10 hours straight and as he had been working in a nearby suburb we think he was told to stop at our place and fix this single fault and we were very thankful and grateful that he had.

The little gas cylinder finally ran out so MOH had to go to K-Mart and buy a new camping stove for $14.00 which works very well.  We had to throw out all the food from the freezer and refrigerator but as we have no excess on our contents policy we were able to claim the $106 which was approximately what the food was worth.  We had let the freezer run almost out of food as were due to defrost it.

Our main concern was that we keep our insulin in the fridge but MOH did take it over to neighbours to put in their fridge on the 2nd day and when we saw our doctor on the Wednesday we explained what had happened and he said the insulin would be OK.  The worst thing you can do with insulin apparently is to freeze it which obviously hadn't happened.

It was quite strange only to be able to have a couple of lights on during those 2 nights and on the second night we actually sat and played dominoes which we'd not done for many months.  I am not a great person for watching TV but MOH enjoys it.  He said it was a little like camping out as we did many years ago and in some ways it is nice to get back to basics without all the mod cons we are so used to.

Fortunately all's well that ends well and now we sit and have a laugh about those very strange 46 hours..

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