On Sunday, Aug. 2, I got up at 5:45 a.m. and crept into the bathroom to get ready for my day. I flipped the light switch and nothing happened. Immediately, my mind switched into Woolsey mode. Why is the power off? Did I pay the bill? Did someone hit a pole? It was too early in the day for this to be a demand peak brownout.
Thanks to our gas water heater, I was able to take a warm shower and heat water for coffee on the gas stove. Since the power and Wi-Fi were out, I was unable to use my cell to call Edison. The fiberoptic phone lines were still working (back-up batteries?) and I was able to learn on the wired phone that our home in Malibu West was part of an outage affecting over 800 homes. They correctly projected a restoration of service by 9 a.m.
Around 6 p.m. the power went out again. We responded by deploying battery-powered lanterns and a battery-powered radio. A call to Edison revealed that this outage of about 1,500 homes was necessary as they cut the power to replace components that had been damaged in the morning’s outage. The outage was projected to be over within the hour. A quick dinner of perishables from the freezer was obviously initiated along with a quick inspection of the food staples in the pantry in case the outage stretched out.
The inconvenience we suffered was minor but I appreciated the gut check on how well prepared I had thought we were. I didn’t start our generator but did think about it and what else we might need if the situation were more serious. The car was trapped inside the garage but since we have practiced using the emergency garage door disconnect, I knew we could get it out if necessary. I was disappointed to remember that I hadn’t bothered to fill the gas tank when I was out during the day and it was less than a quarter full. We had fuel for the BBQ and the generator as well as plenty of food for the pets. Our two-week cushion on prescriptions was intact. Drinking water was adequate for a week or two. Overall, I gave us a B-/C+. We still don’t own a fire pump and 300 feet of hose that could utilize the pool water.
This is a great time to look at your situation and take a look at how well your household is prepared for the always-uncertain future.
The pandemic continues nationally as the seven-day moving average number of daily deaths has risen to over 1,100 per day, a level we have not seen since the beginning of June. Deaths as a percentage of cases have fallen to about 3.3 percent, which is the lowest it has been since the beginning of April. The percentage is falling as most of the new cases are younger people who typically do not get as sick. The seven-day moving average of new cases per day seems to have crested about a week ago just under 68,000 a day and is currently around 61,000 a day. Let’s all continue with masking and social distancing and hope it keeps dropping.
Thanks again to Kal Klatte who has been kind enough to share his statistics and charting skills with me.