Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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A step back into the 1900's

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Wednesday, 16 October 2002: Florida Power's contractors find their way to my house. They have been doing some work in the neighbourhood for a good month already and I guess it was just our turn. We had noticed a few days prior that little red flags appeared in our backyard, an obvious sign of the pending doom work.

I got home from work around 1700 on that Wednesday to find I could not open the garage door. It made sense fairly quickly that the power was off due to the work. It would have been nice had they given some warning as to what was going to go on. At this point, we knew nothing of what they were really doing, but it looked like they were installing some cable of some sort.

So I am sitting on the couch in front of the window I opened because it is very hot in the house and a nice breeze was now blowing through. The power clicked on and off a few times. I walked outside and asked one of the workers about how long he expected the power to remain off. He replied an hour or so. I went back inside and started making telephone calls, because I had nothing better to do. Then the power came back on again and seemed to be staying on. I went into the kitchen and noticed the stove clock was on, but seemed more dim than usual. I turned on a lamp and saw the same thing. But then it got really bright, much more bright than usual. I thought for a moment and decided to turn off the power to the house at the breaker because this under-volt and surging is not good for appliances and electronic equipment.

Just about that time, a worker came to the door and asked me to turn the breakers off. I laughed and said I was just about to and explained why. He said he needed me to do it because when they were installing the main line behind the house, there was an accident that severely damaged the interface between my house and the main line. He needed the breaker to be off to conduct repairs. Fifteen minutes pass and he says the work is complete and I can restore the power to the house. The workers all piled up in their trucks and left while I went and turned on the breakers.

I returned to the kitchen and saw the stove clock was running at its normal brightness. I walked to the microwave and attempted to set the clock, but no display would come up. Hmm, curious. I double-checked to see it was plugged in and then verified the outlet itself was functioning. The microwave was unresponsive. Oh, shit. I immediately figured out what was going on and started checking out the other appliances and equipment in the house. Here is a list of the things that no longer worked:

  • Kitchen > Microwave
  • Master Bedroom > Television
  • Master Bedroom > Lamp (bulb was, no joke, exploded when I found it)
  • My Room > Television
  • My Room > VCR
  • My Room > DVD Player
  • My Room > Flatbed Scanner
  • My Room > External CD-Writer
  • My Room > Stereo System
  • Den > Television
  • Den > VCR
  • Den > Stereo


F U C K !!!

Well, after many telephone calls and a conversation with the workers, we were able to conclude that the company (Central Locating Service) in charge of putting those little flags in the yard marking existing cables screwed up. When the contractors came in to lay the new power cable, they ran their excavation device into our line, causing a massive surge of power through the house. Enough to blow-up a light bulb and destroy all the other equipment above.

We should get the check this week for the replacement of these items. Of course, we do not get the full value, but rather a depreciated value since only a few of the items were new. The others were a few years older and therefore had a percentage taken away from their value (per Florida law).

I think I might keep the money and use it on other badly needed things rather than replace my equipment right away. The approximate $800.00 I will be getting could really help me out right now. But, you know, that said, I would just rather have my stuff back the way it was before. Such is life, I suppose. So, as I write this, I sit in silence because my computer is the only electronic device I own now. How depressing.