A – Z Story Challenge: E is for Electricity

Lots of E’s today… As a result of events in my working life I wound up watching a bit of Equestrian and the Elimination rounds of the Archery at the London Olympics. However… Electricity is the high voltage subject for today.

As a society… worldwide that is… what do we do now that doesn’t rely upon a reliable electricity supply? Not a lot really. And I was not too surprised when confronted recently with Cubs that had never seen a match! Electricity is a key part of our lives – this Blog isn’t possible without it.

So today I had our usual early morning call with my team – one DBA in the UK and two coding persons in India. All ok, work in hand and off we go… Around midday I get the info that India and the Kolkata area where my offshore team is based has lost power as the grid has shut down. This means that my guys over there can’t do their work – not a major worry from my point of view. I accept that sometimes there will be issues. In fact my biggest concern normally is that they will over do it to catch up tomorrow which I’d rather they didn’t because they’re far better to me when they’re thinking on two feet.

India is not doing too bad in respect of power outages – from experience Zimbabwe is very bad, but national / regional festivals like Holi are probably more disruptive year on year than the loss of power experienced today – though I always encourage our team to enjoy their festivals as I feel that it’s important that we all feel comfortable with who and what we are.

The devastating effects of what happened to the power grid in India today reminded me that the US suffered very badly in November 1965 when the power grid went walkies. Over 30 million people on the East Coast of the USA and Canada found themselves without power on that occasion. The tiniest fault in our national grid systems can render us impotent. This is not just an issue that might affect my friends and colleagues in India – anyone can be downed by a simple power failure. My Colleague Rohit joked that perhaps India has finally caught up with the 1960’s USA! 😉 Perhaps we need to find a non-electricity reliant back up to our lives where ever we live and work?


  1. There are so many aspects of our lives needing electricity that we often take for granted. Till we have a power outage. I always find if the power goes off that I worry about the fridge/freezer defrosting if it’s off too long. Our longest one that I can remember was last summer when we were without power from around midday till about 8pm. I remember it specifically as I missed Heartbeat that night. Michelle & her Dad arrive home today, she had a wonderful time in you country, albeit a rather wet time.

    1. Hi Tony, pleased to hear that Michelle enjoyed her visit despite the wet weather.

      Our power cuts are usually quite short in London where everything is fed underground. The wilds of Scotland can lose their service for days when the wind brings down the cables and there’s snow on the ground.

  2. excellent post as usual Martin, I learn so much from your insider’s tales, and yes I agree we all need electricity … a few people near us are ‘off-the-grid’ with good stand-alone solar arrays … we have one too but we are grid-feeding and dont have a back-up battery … something we think about every time there is an outage usually because of storm damage

    1. Thanks Christine – that power failure played nicely into my hands for the A-Z Challenge didn’t it!

      I keep a charged up Jump-Start battery in the house for use with the radio . There are a couple of torches lying around for emergencies and a few candles with a box of matches 🙂

  3. One invention that comes to my mind is the washing machine. How could I ever survive without it ? and yes it needs electricity to function. It’s frightening to realise that I’m so depended on electricity.

    1. I used to hand wash my clothes… Then I met my wife-to-be – the washing machine was one of the first purchases insisted upon (before we even tied the knot) 😉

  4. I well remember the 1965 blackout. My husband was caught in Manhattan while I was home in Brooklyn. Scary night. People were convinced they had shorted out their houses by turning on their electric razors, etc. The full dimension of the outage took a while to sink in. One of the dimensions took nine months: a sharp spike in the birth rate.
    Electricity is involved in ALL dimensions of our lives. Obviously.

    1. I’m sure it was very scary Judith – usually when we have a powercut we can still see lights in nearby parts of town, so we know it’s just a local substation or cable. I’ve never seen the whole of the area around me blacked out. You must have wondered what was going on and, with the cold war in full flow, I don’t doubt that some people feared the worst.

  5. hey from ecuador! thanks for stopping by the blog; i especially like this post, as it addresses several issues; how dependent most people are on a power source and what would happen if those power sources shut down for a long-period of time. especially in the dead of winter in a particularly-cold city. one thing i like about my life in rural ecuador is that we live a basic life and have a year-round food crops and an a well-stocked supply of seafood from the ocean. we lose power a lot, so everyone knows what matches and candles are, and we know to be frugal with them just in case an outage lasts for days.
    thanks for the great post!

    1. Thank you for your kind response to my post. Having visited my Wife’s country of Zimbabwe I have become very aware of the need to be prepared of the loss of Electricity, especially when living on a farm a long distance from the nearest villages. It was great seeing your ‘Urban’ life 🙂

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