14 August 2010

Electricians?

I know little to nothing about the relevant engineering, so I'm mystified by the recovery from our latest power outage.

We, along with another 90k or so customers of my utility, lost power Thursday morning. About 36 hours later we got a call from a friend in our building that our power was "sort of on." Two hours later is was off completely again. An hour after that it was back on completely for two minutes. Then off again. Off and on for another ten minutes or so. Then it settled down to a situation where lights in two rooms were fully on, lights in the other rooms were operating on partial voltage, and other circuits including the refrigerator were off completely. I think the garbage disposal was also on partial voltage.

I have a vague memory that operating some types of motors on low voltage is a Bad Thing, so... I don't understand how this situation can be explained unless both my utility and the management of the apartment is doing something unusual.

No real point to this post. I'm just confused. I'm used to having power, and used to having no power. I'm not used to having some power. Just putting this out there.

I guess if anyone can point me to a convenient primer on home electricity and the local power system I'll have to add it to my queue. Got to rectify this hole in my knowledge so I'm not tempted to prattle on like a twit on the internet next time PEPCO leaves me stranded. Which will probably be next week if this summer keeps up.

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