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Our electricity keeps going out!
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Anne in TN    Posted 12-03-2001 at 10:31:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Our electricity has gone out over 18 times since we moved here 4 months ago. We had a generator which our electrician hooked up to our well. He also made an outlet in the family room that we could plug our computer, a television, a heater and some lights into. Most of the outages are very brief so we haven't needed the generator yet. We bought an aladin lamp for Y2K and have used it in the kitchen. We also bought a gas range for Y2K which we hooked up in our utility room beside our kitchen. In addition, we have a bunch of kerosene lamps about the house. Do you all know about those "tap-it" lights. I have one right beside my bed. If the electricity goes, I can roll over and just tap it and it goes on. It is a circular light and illuminates the whole room. I don't know yet what else we may need for these outages except I don't know how I am going to keep my tropical fish warm. I asked some pet stores what they do in an outage, in the dead of winter, and they all said they just let the fish die and then they claim insurance. Goodness! I don't want my fish to die!

Do any of you folks have outages like we do? When we lived in town 10 miles away, we may have experienced one outage a year and that was all. I don't understand what the problem is. I have asked our new electric company why there are so many outages and they just say the wind blows the tree limbs onto the wires and squirrels short them out. Bah humbug! We had squirrels and branches falling in town and not near the problem. I am duly miffed.


Spence    Posted 12-06-2001 at 09:21:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
First check to see if it is community
problem. If yes check with your service provider.

If only a few neighbors are always affected
and it's always the same ones, check to see
if your all on one transformer. If yes have your
utility check it out. It could be a bad line
problem for that group too.

If it's only your house and everyone else is
lighted, check to see if you have your own transformer that could be the problem too. You may have to pay to have this checked out even though
it belongs to the utility since it's on your
property. But that's rare.

Next, have an electrician check the wire connections in the meter box. There could be corrosion in there if water is getting in the box.

If that's OK so far. Have an electrician
check the connections in your fuse box and
particularly the connections where the 3 wire heavy cable comes in at the top of the box from the meter and just before your main breaker.
There will be a huge black wire and a huge red one
with the white going to a bar in the box. With the
power gone again I would do a power check with a 110V testor at these 2 wires. But it's pretty
hairy business has one wrong slip and you have an
unexpected fireworks display.

All this will tell you if the problem is
before your fuse panel and all of the problems calls for an electrician OR/AND the utility to fix.

One last thing, on the generator idea make
sure the guy installed a cutout switch that ensures that you only have 2 options, 1/ the generator or 2/ the utility.

Hogman    Posted 12-07-2001 at 07:53:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thats a good warning about the generater. Folks over East of Us built a fine new house and installed an automatic back-up system.
So far as could be figured out the juice went off,the generater came on,the juice came back on but ole generater did'nt get tha word. Tha chiminey was still there when They got home.A shame but Me thinks a case of not using qualified installer and correct equipment. Wally worse is not the place to go for this sort of stuff!!!!!!

Mike Taylor    Posted 12-06-2001 at 08:00:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
One quarter mile stretch of my property line had brush growing right up into the lines. I told the Coop that I need to spray the brush but couldn't for fear of being electrocuted. They came out with a big hydraulic machine that altually pulled everything out of the ground, roots and all! No spraying was necessary.

I live near Houston but this place is up in OK. How can the Coop there sell electricity at less than half the rate it's sold here in Houston??????

Hogman    Posted 12-06-2001 at 08:20:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mike I have no sure idea on that. When You refer to Houston do You mean Texas State of or Texas Co Mo?
A lot of Our juice comes out of Ok and I think Ka. I belong to White River which pretty well covers where all Us "Hillbillies" live and Empire covers them "aliens" over round bransompthun. The rates may not be the same,not sure. Anyway,crossin State lines,tax,some profit(gotta be ta stay in business),all adds up.

Hogman    Posted 12-05-2001 at 19:04:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
A lot of good posts on this one Annie,all worth consideration.
I'd expect there is a good answer which You should be able to get from the supplier.
This ares has had electric lights since the early 1950's and some equipment was used to it's dying gasp. We are a co-op with low rates,infact dirt cheap in comparasion to other areas.Over the years as "owners" We accepted a certain level of service as part of the whole.

Our lights here on the rock pile went out with the first lightenin flash and/or drop of rain. We put up with it on the promise of a new substation soon as money was available.
A few years back We got the station and a blink now and then is about all We get.

I would check with the neighbors when You have an outage to make sure it is not just Your service.

Lastly to Geo,Hey now, I loved Your writin. No offense ment Miss Annie,twas all in good humor but oh so true. You forgot mud daubers'n yeller jackets......
Good luck

Anne in TN    Posted 12-06-2001 at 07:40:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
To Hogman: It wasn't mud daubers or yellow jackets. It was WASPS! A ton of them. Every where! All around the house. Above every door. Inside the house. Under the window sills. I honestly don't know how the people before us managed to live with so many of them around. I am allergic to them and can die if I am stung. I used to carry a kit with me to give myself a shot if I get stung. I guess now that we have moved here I need to get another one as my old one expired. Thanks for mentioning the bees.


bob walls    Posted 02-24-2002 at 12:03:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Annie, the bee and or other stings can easily be neturalized by applying a minor discharge of electricity at the site of sting. I an an acupuncturist and use small inexpensive electric stimulators......when I need to be sure I slip a thin needle into the sting site and apply about 75 miliampers for about 10 seconds. Talk to someone who knows electricity....probably a 3 or 9 volt battery with a wire connected to each pole and then touching the sting site would neturalize the wasp toxins.....that`s the great thing about this method, the electricity chages the toxins into non toxins, and anything from mosquito bites to snake bites can be treated this way.
Good luck....

Hogman    Posted 12-06-2001 at 08:35:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Anne thats scary. Some of those wasps are just mean by nature like hornets. We have a lot of them here. The daubers are no problem so far as stings and They get thick in My shop building.My gripe with them is They nest in every hole no matter how small,build nests in the grooves of machine pulleys,inside electric motors etc & etc ad infinetumusus.
I have had many wasp stings tho and they are downright painful but an alergic reaction is fearful. Have only seen it once,made Me relize just how scarry it is. Protect Yourself and I wish You all the luck in the world.

Anne in TN    Posted 12-07-2001 at 11:51:42       [Reply]  [No Email]

Thanks for your kindness and thanks for reminding me that I need to get the allergy kit.

One good thing is the wasps are not out much now that the weather is colder. I have a reprieve 'til spring.


IHank    Posted 12-07-2001 at 15:06:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anne- I get the idea that you are on top of your medical needs regards the wasps. Most definitely get your medial act super together before spring!

Also, see this winter and cold weather as a fantastic opportunity to rid your entire living area of them wasps. Get you several pressurized cans of the wasp & hornet killer that'll squirt out past 20 feet. Get you several cans of the foam insulation stuff that you can squirt into cracks and holes and fill 'em up tight.

Real careful like, go around your home and out buildings hunting for where the wasps nest. Give any and all holes a dose of the insulating foam.

Keep going round and round your place over the winter. Each time you'll see a place you missed last time around, so just keep blowing anything that looks like a wasp could nest in it full of foam.

Remember to do all openings in your clothes line poles, electrical boxes and conduit pipes, and other things that might not appear as a place where wasps would nest.

Come spring, when they come out of hybernation, or return from migration, or whatever it is they do, they'll find their old home sites are no longer available. They'll have to go elsewhere. Some will die looking for elsewhere. The others will die when you hit 'em with a dose of the wasp & hornet killer.

Do it gal! And, work safe and careful while you do. IHank

gary    Posted 12-04-2001 at 05:21:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Are these outages? Brownouts or blinkouts. How long do they last? When do they happen? At random, only during rain? Only during draught?What is causing the outages? Find out why they are happening? Is it just your home? If so is there a problem with the feed from the pole to your home?
Is is a utility wire problem.

If I was getting more than a couple a year I would be contacting the electric company and having them look at the issue. A call to the state utility commission might also generate some help.

Harvey    Posted 12-03-2001 at 19:46:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anne - if you're paying for a service, expect it. If you don't get it complain.

I'm not sure which part of Canada that "Magpie" comes from but here in Northern Alberta we've been on the grid since prior to the second world war. Rural co-ops started extending the lines to more remote rural areas about 1947. We've had power on our farm since 1948. Our service is very good though now getting expensive. I know it's hard to believe that we are ahead of the more populated southern places but it's true. Natural gas is the norm for most rural farms here. Co-op water lines now are replacing farm wells and dugouts. In many ways farms and acreages have better services than urban centers.

PCC-AL O K LAYOFF GUYS I THINK SHE UNDERSTANDS    Posted 12-03-2001 at 19:05:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
O.K. Anne,
I think you got the message. Anyway, the folks you will meet here are generally good people. However, you can ask questions that will eventually bore them. If you will take this advice as coming from a friend and not a smart (you know what), here it is.
Without any of us knowing you, we have determined from your posts that you are new to the country life.
Beavers and beaver ponds are facts of life to be dealt with according to the temperment and needs of the person affected. Personally, I like beavers and woods filled with water, but I hate to see my pine trees die and leave a big hole in my wallet.
Horses can navigate most any kind of terrain without injury except when Marlin Perkins chases them in a helicopter and shoots darts into their rear ends.(It does not hurt the animals).

If you choose to live in TN (A GREAT STATE), take it like it is. Lots of rocks, mountains, snow (yuck) and water. Also, some pretty good whiskey-see Mr. Daniels over in eastern TN. I think this is about the same all over this GREAT LAND that some Bin idiot recently caused us to reflect on of late.

O.K. I've rambled, just enjoy your life and TN, they are both better that you realize now. Wait another 30-40 years. Have fun and good luck.

IHank    Posted 12-03-2001 at 17:23:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anne- From reading this thread I gotta recommend that you put your generator set operation and maintenance book as #1 on your evening reading list.

A couple more little tricks that might be of immense value to you-

- If your generator fuel tank don't have a shut off valve on the bottom, then cut the fuel line and install one.

- While you're doing that a slick trick is to install a metal case type in-line fuel filter. My gimmick is to add some fuel hose and make it work out so's the filter is the lowest place in the fuel feed line. That will help hold moisture and dirt in the filter, rather than allowing crud to slip by and run down into the carburetor.

- When you shut down the generator engine it is good to bring the engine down to a fast idle speed and let it cool down a bit. Then, simply shut off the fuel and run the carburetor dry. That way you don't have a carburetor bowl full of fuel that will draw moisture and go stale while sitting around.

Follow up from there by draining the fuel tank into a container and pouring the gas into the car or pick em up truck and use it up. Along with this you'll keep a container of fresh gas at the ready for if/when needed. Once a month dump the stand by gas in the car and re-fill the container with fresh fuel.

- There's no such thing as changing the oil to often on these hard working air cooled engines! Let the interval your book sez be a maximum time between changes. Ten hours is a magic number for me. Keep in mind that the oil will break down from heat and physical stress long before it looks dirty. Also, the 7, 8, and 10 horsepower generator engines commonly only use one quart as the total engine oil capacity, so an oil change will cost under $2.

- Very important is to check and topp up the engine oil level each time the thing is fired up or re-fueled.

- Learn about 110 plug in outlet systems. Learn about 220 volt plug in outlet systems. Learn the differences and to not mix 'em up. Avoid temptations to connect your generator into your household wiring system. Doing so properly requires some expensive and complicated either/or type equipment additions that probably aren't worth it to you.

Good luck and work careful. IHank

geo in MI    Posted 12-03-2001 at 16:35:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Do we denote a bit of panic in your questions??? If you manage to hang on just a little longer, oh, say ten years or so, you'll probably look back and laugh at yourself for all these "country" discoveries you're making. Don't know, but maybe you have a different power company there than what you had in town. There is considerable difference in quality among the companies--not only between the majors, but also among REMC's. Eighteen times in four months seems a bit much though, and maybe you should give them a call, talk to your neighbors, etc, to see if you do indeed have a loose connection, or find out how long it's been since the tree trimmers have come through. Actually, it costs your power company more to come out on an emergency basis than to trim trees in advance, using contract trimmers------because, after the lights go out, they are most often paying line persons overtime, plus they are losing revenue when the lines go down Also, I hope you have a surge protector on your computer.

But, just hang in there, there's a few more discoveries to go. Let's see............. your pump and well, your septic system, skunks and racoons under the house, homeless kitties dumped out on your place by the townfolk, hunters using your land without permission, deer eating up the ornamentals you planted, bushwhackers who use a baseball bat on your mailbox, a cranky neighbor who claims the property line is not right(in his favor, of course), and probably a few more........but then, who knows, I've only lived here for twenty years. Okay, maybe mining and oil drilling rights, Dutch elm disease, snakes, the bog filling up, county road right of way, Wal-Mart buying the next door property, Indian casino, subdivision, four wheelers.................................................

Relax, the best is yet to come..

geo in MI    Posted 12-03-2001 at 16:39:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Forgot to mention yellow jackets, mice, termites, springtime mud.................

geo in MI    Posted 12-03-2001 at 16:46:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just thought of this: Maybe it's the beavers? Any light poles sticking out of the dam?

geo in MI    Posted 12-03-2001 at 17:39:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just happened to think--how's your fire department and how well is your place marked? Place where I used to come from, they were affectionately known as the "foundation savers".....

And, oh yes, that huge light you see burning all night on the road just a mile west of you might be a 200 head herd of Holstein milkers cooped up in one of those plastic barns................You'll know for sure in July or August......... Phew!
And Anne, lest you, by now, think I'm making fun, there are a few "offsets" to be discovered.

Like a place without wires to fly a kite this spring, crickets and lightning bugs in the summer, evenings so quiet in the winter that you can actually hear the snow falling, Plenty of Ford and John Deere tractors and haywagons to pull the kids' homecoming floats at the football games, home-picked, homemade blackberry pie baked by that little old Granny down the road, bluegills and catfish in the pond, bullfrogs, too, a neighbor who won't take any money for coming by and plowing the snow out of your driveway, and Christmas carols sung by the tune of an old pump organ, and robins, and bluebirds, maybe even an eagle or two. And wild cherry logs in the fireplace, and fresh sweet corn and tomatoes...........And that dumped out silver kitten that grew up to be the best mouser in the world...........And pine boughs for Christmas fresh cut from your own woods

Hang in there, Anne, it'll be home sweet home to you fairly soon, if you let it happen.


OW - heh heh    Posted 12-03-2001 at 16:12:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
By golly, i gotta hand it to you Annie - you just MIGHT be stubborn enough to see this thing thru & become a country person yet! It will take awhile to slow down and shrug off all that city tension. :) Remember that a city family CAN BE an island but you're part of a community now and you'll be needing your neighbors like never before. So let me offer you a peek at country politics --

You know what i'd do? Get a look at the local paper, maybe chat with the people who run it. A good local paper can get more accomplished thru simple embarrassment than all the court houses, churches, clubs, unions, ombudsmen, lawyers & bureaucrats combined.

And believe me - if you HAVE a good paper, the power company reads it too. Might chat with them first. No point in assuming they're the adversary until you've heard their explanation face to face. Then if you still have to, maybe suggest to them that you'd "hate to have to resort to writing letters to the editor". or see if they'll give you a discount for interrupted service. Helping improve THEIR service isn't a bad thing, right? And maybe the workers there would appreciate a little overtime. :)

Not everybody in the country sees eye to eye - that's part of the reason we like living miles apart. But you'll find that most country people try to give everybody the benefit of a doubt until the other person gets mad or uppity. Then you'll be pigeonholed, become the subject of negative gossip and make yourself an instant outsider.

You're doing a good thing by asking questions here and seeing how they're fielded. Good luck Annie - and when you get your horses, i have an online friend in Pa. who raises them too, and she's a real nice gal.

Old Warrior

magpie    Posted 12-03-2001 at 15:00:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Anne, I have a problem with electricity too, last time it was out for 9 hours. We have a wood cookstove, so we can keep part of the house warm. We can hual water from the creek and get our chores done in the daylight. I have considered getting a generator, because if the freezer and fridge and waterpump, but havent yet. This electricity business is kind of a modern thing we have gotten used to. I sometimes think we are getting too comfortable with it, after all the power company has us under their thumb dosen't it? In Canada electricity in rural houses is fairly new last 30 years or so, most of us grew up without it. It's nice to have but I guess I could do without if I had to.

Salmoneye    Posted 12-03-2001 at 13:13:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Welcome to rural electric service.
I don't mean to sound harsh, but who are you miffed at? You are the one that wanted to live outside of town.
Before you moved did you ask the neighbors how many times a year the power went out?
Don't come to my town becuase it is quaint and then complain because you can't get a Latte at the General Store, and that you hate the smell of Cow manure.
Sure ya can keep calling the power company, but many companies do what is called 'Management By Crisis'. This means that they are not going to 'fix' anything till there is a an outage.
Learn how to use the generator, get rid of the fish or move back to town.

And I do apologize for sounding Harsh...

F14...Salmoneye, ol' Buddy...    Posted 12-03-2001 at 17:15:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've lived in the boonies all my life, except that brief period as a Squid. If my electricity went off 18 times in four months, I'd be ballistic, especially at the rates I'm paying the local robbers.

Part of your bill goes to line maintenance, and if they're not keeping the trees cut back, you need to follow the suggestions in other replies for getting them off the dime. And if that don't work (tho it likely will) I'd be pitching a major fit at the Public Utilities Commission or whatever it's called in your state.

Of course, the way electric distribution is handled, they kinda got ya by the short and curlies...

Salmoneye    Posted 12-04-2001 at 03:11:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Well...I DID apologize up front and at the end there.
I agree that 'the squeeky wheel gets the grease', but I also believe that the company must know about the situation already.

18 times in 4 months does sound excessive, but instead of being miffed, I would be assuring that I had a backup if I needed it.

Then get miffed and raise some he!!...


Burrhead    Posted 12-03-2001 at 18:05:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
When we kept having power surges here I called the Utility Commission and it worked.

They sent a questionaire around the community to find out about services.

Then about a month later the power folks had trimming crews cleaning the lines and it cured the problems.

Burrhead    Posted 12-03-2001 at 16:11:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
salmoneye there aint any reason she should'nt have reliable service no matter where she lives. The reason our rural lines are a problem around here is usually because the upper crust lives in town .

Gulf States utilities owned our lectric comp till 4 years ago. In 15 years our power was off 2 times for new poles to be set. They ran and add in the paper to tell us when it would be off and for how long.

Then Duke and Entergy bought all the rural suppliers here. Man what a screw up.

Our lectric prices have continually climbed with Duke/Entergy and the service sux.

Bob(WI)    Posted 12-03-2001 at 15:23:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nothing personal but for what the electric companies charge their is no reason for the outages, living in the city or country should have nothing to do with it, 18 times in 4 months is way to much, if it was in the city the chit would hit the fan, I live in the country and our power only goes out 3 to 4 times a year, sounds to me like more of a company worried about profitsthan customers like we can choose our power providers.

Les...fortunate    Posted 12-03-2001 at 12:04:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anne, I work for a power company. My job is to try to keep the trees separated from the wires. We have anywhere from 10 to 25 contracted tree crews working on our lines all the time. Trees cause the vast majority of our outages. I'm guessing the #2 cause is squirrels.
How long has it been since the line feeding you was cleared? If you know which direction it's feeding from, take a ride back down the line toward the source. I'm guessing that you're going to see places where brush/trees are growing too close to the wires. Or it may be something as simple (but sometimes difficult to find) as a loose connection.
No matter what the cause, call the utility every time it happens. If you don't want to do that, keep track of it. Talk to the neighbors to see if it's just your problem or all have the same situation. If you don't get any satisfaction from the utility (is it a rural co-op?) call the state agency that has some control. Here in NH it's called the Public Utilities Commission.
It's kind of ironic that often the people who complain most about us cutting trees on their property are the ones who are first to call when the power goes out.

Duey (IA)    Posted 12-03-2001 at 12:03:09       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anne, When the electric company brushes you off like that,they are not concerned or do not think you have much of a problem. I suggest you become that "squeeky door hinge" that drives you crazy until you oil it. Get to know them on a personal basis, like be sure to call them EVERY time the electricity goes off. Ask them how you are expected to keep your pet fish alive!!! Our electric company has a crew that trims those branches to insure against outages. On your way to town, look at the lines and report any of these branches too close to the lines!! Just think, you could have already talked to them 18 times. Duey

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